Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Warning! Labels are dangerous!

The danger of labels has never been higher than now.
My friends, I ask you all to please consider this. We live in a time where our main news sources are biased, corrupted and have agendas which can be bought or are owned by corrupting political interests.  And, our internet news is fed to us based on what smart automated systems think we want to hear or are interested in (facebook, google, yahoo, etc.). This reinforcement of our personal biases and beliefs causes us to become drunk on our own bullshit and slip further into our own in-tolerances and closed mindedness.  

Image courtesy of Stamps by SPC via Amazon

And so, out pops the labels. A label is an easy way of quickly assigning a state or condition to something to help us keep track or understand the properties of something without having to research or verify those properties each time. For things which properties are reasonably self evident, this is very efficient.  For example, a bin labeled nuts, bolts, spices, etc.

However, a label such as "stupid", "right-wing nut job conservative", "commy liberal", "murderer", "criminal", "terrorist", "unqualified", "rapist", "predator", "gun owner", "pervert", "incompetent", etc. are easily applied in those news sources or by individuals and the persons these labels are placed on are then easily assumed to have those properties with little verification, or worse, verification by an "unqualified" or "incompetent" or "compromised" source. Do you see the problem here? There are even labels for validity of the source the labels.

There is an elementary axiom in mathematics called the "transitive property of equality". It simply says that if A = B, and B = C, then A = C. So lets suppose that Terrorist = Muslim, and Bob is a Muslim, then Bob must be a terrorist right?  The problem is in the first assumption that A=B. B is the label and A is the property.  The A = B in this case is only partly true in that we know that most terrorists of late have been Muslims. But with over a 1 billion Muslims in the world, clearly, not all of them are terrorists or have terrorist tendencies and desires.  Therefore, A does not equal B. In-other-words, labels come with assumptions. And there is another rule about "assumptions" that you've probably heard, "when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME."

In the above case, both Terrorist and Muslim are labels with large grey areas of their property certainties, but Bob is an individual label. So Bob is certain.  So first, what makes Bob a Muslim? Did he declare it himself or was he observed going to mosque a few times? It is likely that if you read that in an article or post somewhere, that point will not be part of the content and for simplicity of digesting the article and saving yourself time in a very busy world, you might follow that assumption.  

One more example.  Child Rapist = Sex-offender,  Sex-offender = Bill. I'm sure it's all painfully obvious to many of us now that label of "sex-offender" now applies to almost anyone.  From someone who was simply  drunk and caught peeing in the street to a full-on child murdering rapist. So, if you've had your name published in the paper as "sex-offender" people will probably assume that you're at least a child molester, but won't consider that you busted for pissing in the street when you were drunk,  UNLESS THEY KNOW YOU and know otherwise. 

Labels are misapplied to so many things now, that it is corrupting our knowledge and information flows with bias, poor judgement or simply bad information. When you see a label like Liberal, Conservative, or Moderate, remember that what that label means may differ from your interpretation of it, and that it may only be partially true, if true at all, and should not become an emotion provoking or thought engaging point unless you're certain the context is relevant, the source is competent and the scope of the label is not a distraction from it's relevance. Unfortunately, that's a lot of metal work if all you want to do is read the news in peace. I find it simply easier to keep a very open mind to alternative views and information and never become emotionally driven or closed minded by any of it.

The misuse of labels is dividing us, causing us to fight, manipulating us and breaking down trust between us. Facebook has decided that I'm a conservative. Stop and hold in mind what you think of me at this moment.  I suppose because I support gun rights and smaller government and read a lot of this material that I've earned this label in their programmer's minds at Facebook. But I also support a woman's right to manage her own body and certain social programs. I call myself a Libertarian because my priority is to maintain the freedom for us all that was born of the many battles that formed our nation. Now what do you think of me? But I guess facebook doesn't have that label.  I wonder why? 



Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Libertarian's Analysis of RNC vs. DNC and who to vote for.

Like it or not - I don't - there are only two platforms which determine who runs for 98% of our Congress and Presidential offices. Americans have found this illusion of voter power comforting. But for over these last few decades, the choices of candidates these two platforms finally produced have, in practice, offered little difference. In fact, many Americans now believe that both parties might as well be the same party regardless of rhetoric in terms of their results and our freedom of choice.

There are many details which lead up to this situation, but for simplicity, recently, this stands out as a difference between both parties to me: In the first Republican Debate for the 2016 Presidential race, broadcasters tried to allow 17 candidates on the air. In the first Democratic Debate, broadcasters only aired 5 candidates. By the fourth Republican debate, the participants had narrowed to 12. The fourth Democratic debate, 3.

Much of the fighting and criticism that surrounded the Republican Party was because there were so many candidates. While it’s pretty obvious that the leadership of the Republican party did not want this level of division or number of choices, nor did it care much for some of the candidates (Carson, Paul, Trump) who were anti-establishment, it did present its membership (consumers) with more choices to consider. In this regard, the Republican Party looked like a supermarket, while the Democrat Party looked like a convenience store.

Seeing the Republican Party’s leadership unravel at the seams was a treat for almost everyone except those in the leadership. Because, at that tear, the people were finally being heard. Issues of true substance and importance were going out of bounds from all the scripting of the party leadership as well as the media’s coordinated corralling.

But what made this show even more spectacular was the unraveling of the Democrat Party’s iron-fist control of the candidate pool and premeditated outcomes. Thankfully, social media and their ability to control the freedom of discussion and information available on the internet turned out to be something both sides proved weak in. Finally many people are seeing now that our enemies are not in the category of Republican or Democrat, but rather the forces that control them both like a puppet show for us to watch.

What used to work before was constantly thwarted with contrary proofs, videos and testimonies from outsider discussions and information sources. While it’s painfully clear who the chosen one was for the Democrats, (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-23/leaked-dnc-emails-confirm-democrats-rigged-primary-reveal-extensive-media-collusion), the same can not be said for the Republicans. But that doesn’t mean they hadn’t picked theirs and intended to run it out like the Democrats, it's just that things went further sideways for them and their plans because of the breadth of players in the field and the strength and tenacity of some of their most parting candidates.

I don’t favor either party because they're both props now. Call me "results oriented". If the vote came down to Republican Party’s “chosen one”, or the Democrat Party’s “chosen one”, then voting is just a waste of time for me. If there’s anything the past shows us, it’s that both parties are indisputably corrupt, self-interested organizations and are now more destructive than constructive to our lives, our nation and our liberties. But the unanticipated, more free-market-like action, that has nearly destroyed the Republican Party over the last decade has produced something that neither party has given us since I can remember. Our first presidential nominee who is not one of their “chosen ones” or a politician! Had the Democrat’s leadership been thwarted in their plans, that would have produced someone who was not a “chosen one’’ but whom was still a politician, making the choice between the two somewhat harder.

If the entities that continue to keep the best candidates out, corrupt and control our current political system, and sway public opinion, can not be diminished in the least this time, then I suppose it doesn’t matter who becomes president. Because, nothing will get better and will likely just get worse. If Trump doesn’t succumb to the same forces that ended so many good intentions of a few people before him (Ron Paul, Ross Perot), then maybe there will be something different to look forward to. But that’s where my hope is, not my bet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still voting and by the time I vote, if Trump and Hillary look the same to me, I’ll just go with the libertarian again who is sure to lose, again.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's time for Alcohol Registration(!)

It's time for Alcohol Registration(!) Nobody argues that more people die every year from drunk drivers than any other non-biological cause and it's time we finally do something about it. The one tool brought out all the time to solve other instances of wrongful death is never mentioned - "Registration". So how about, "if you want to buy alcohol, you must register." I know, people will say, "well how does that help? If someone registers, get's drunk, get's behind the wheel of a car (which is already illegal), drives and then kills a family and himself, what good did that do? So he was registered, so what!"

Well, the next logical addition to this law would be that registrations must be approved (for a small fee) by a trusted government entity (like the ATF) responsible for applying the proper regulations for the kinds of people who's registrations will be approved or not. For example, if you're a felon, then you're registration would not be approved - and therefore you could not buy alcohol, thus reducing the chances of you getting any and then getting behind the wheel of a car(!) And some will say, "well, that's fine but who will determine what these regulations will be?" Of course, a trusted government appointed committee can determine what the appropriate regulations should be. And what's the worse that could happen besides what all the government conspiracy kooks might think?

There's already plenty of examples of how this works in other areas. Take gun registration for example. Clearly you can see how "the people" would win(!)

For those of you who think I've lost my mind, I haven't. I'm only trying to make a point about registration and guns and registration in general, not alcohol. My punctuation errors are intentional. In many computer programming languages the "!" means to invert, it's a "Not" logical operator. I thought an honest attempt to apply this "Registration" thinking to another problem similar in nature to gun violence might demonstrate how foolish the idea of gun registration truly is, and how the only party that really benefits from the gun registration "solution" is the ruling party. Hopefully, you can already see some of the other fallacies in this argument. For example, how little of an effect it would actually have on preventing people from having alcohol who really want it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to tell if a Law is Good or Not?

It should be pretty obvious that in today's complex ecosystem of politics, almost nobody truly understands what the ultimate impact of every new law will be.  Here's why:  

  1. Today, it's common for legislators to not even read the law.   
  2. It's common for a law to be motivated or opposed by a commercial interests or other corrupt intentions.
  3. It's common for legislators who actually do read the law to not understand it.
  4. It's common for multiple yet unrelated laws to be bundled together to help obfuscate the obviously bad or corrupted ones.
  5. It's common for those who transcribe the law into the practical US and State Codes and regulations to change it in someway as a matter of necessity, incompetence or ignorance.
  6. It's common for those who enforce the law to misinterpret or choose to enforce only portions of the law or twist the intent.
  7. It's common for those who adjudicate the law to twist the outcome or success of its intent.
  8. It's not possible to predict how future legislators, regulators, enforcement agents and judges will interpret and process the law - plenty of history on this starting with the second amendment, first and fourth amendments - then and now.

Given this gauntlet of improbabilities, that a law will even be in practice as it was originally intended, what is the possibility a law will actually even do most of what it is intended to do these days without other unforeseen consequences ala "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor"? 

Then, given all the incomplete, incompetent, misguided, obfuscated and corrupted information available these days, I believe that very few, if any people are actually qualified to determine that a law will be good.  So with the impossible task of understanding the necessary complexities and interactions of our huge governmental ecosystem, in order to make finite judgments on individual laws, I’ve concluded that a philosophy about new laws is easier to manage and just about as effective, if not more, than trying to fathom the implications of every new law.

 
And I base that philosophy on personal liberty which many people feel is tied to the size of government.  Indeed - as government grows bigger, individuals get smaller.  But, it’s probably easier to show that the “size of government” has decreased over this current administration rather than increased,  so I wouldn’t even attempt it. 

Because, so much redistribution of government resources has taken place in the last 12 years, it really only boils down to how much liberty we are losing year over year.  For example, decreasing the size of military but increasing domestic agency enforcement officers could result in a net effect of reducing the size of government but increasing the loss of personal liberty.  Or reducing department size but increasing computational abilities, tools and intelligence could result again in more loss of liberty even though the number of personnel shrank.  Basically, if we could show the increase in the power of government year over year, in its ability to invade and control the lives of its citizens, I think everyone would be seriously frightened.  And new laws are often the justification for growing the size and/or powers of enforcement agencies.

And so, here's some of the statistics you'll never see:

A year by year comparison of:
·         The number of government employed or sponsored people who are in enforcement positions.
·         A “liberty overhead coefficient” (for example, # of regulations X severity of punishment)
·         Enforcement Systems Effectiveness (weapons, control and intelligence gathering)

All I know is that I could do a lot more with a lot less worry about being in “compliance” with something or someone, or the paper work to do it, the farther I look back in time during my life.  And there’s only one organization that everyone always looks to for help solving the world's problems which displaces that level of personal freedom – government.

So, in my opinion, the reach of the part of government which invades my privacy and threatens my freedom has increased almost every year since I was born.  And this feels like and exponential progression, not linear.  So, with the impossible task of understanding the necessary complexities and interactions as well as whose "facts" to believe, my philosophy has come down to this:

Anything that produces a net growth in the government’s means of control or enforcement is further detrimental to personal liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

Since new laws generally make things more difficult and contribute to the growth or reach of some form of enforcement mechanism.  I feel it’s statistically safer to be against any such law if you don’t have the time, resources or knowledge to fully investigate it.  And, given the media’s incompetence, the purposeful obfuscation of information by both government and industrial entities with their own agendas, fear and omissions, I reassert that, it’s not possible for anyone to make these decisions for the overall good in any consistent manner regardless of where they are in or out of government!

And this is why of all the active politicians I’ve tried to follow, Rand Paul is currently on top of my list.  Rand Paul often has the fewest legislative proposals which increase the invasive powers or corruptible power of the government.  Of the legislation Rand Paul has sponsored or introduced, I would agree with at least 70% of it.  No one else is above 30% in my book.  And at 70%, that's the best I expect to find.  So what is the agreement percentage you honestly give your favorite politician in terms of HIS ACTUAL LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS (not what dribbles out of his mouth) which affect your personal liberty? 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Climate Change?

Climate change?

I went to see a very old friend today. George, he's 97. If there could ever be a human capable of competing with the breadth and depth of knowledge store that google has, it would be him. Among the topics he educated me on today was climate change. Of all the things he has researched, has experience with and is concerned about, this one is the most critical on his list, given his very limited time here.

He pointed out the Keeling curve of CO2 monitoring which shows the steady increase in PPM of CO2 in our atmosphere since he (Charles Keeling) started recording it in 1958 (Keeling worked at the Scripps Institute about the same time George did). When I returned home today, I looked at this curve. There's not doubt that CO2 has accumulated in this period at an alarming rate.

However, the reason CO2 is of such a concern is because it is a "greenhouse gas". The higher the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the more long wave radiation (heat) stays trapped between the atmosphere and the earth, keeping the earth warm. The CO2 acts similar to the earth as a windshield acts on the dashboard of a car.

I wish I could have spent more time with George today to ask him this: while the accumulation of CO2 maybe increasing steadily in our atmosphere, does that mean it has a linear coupling to the end result of heat build-up on the earth? If the answer is no, then this could be a very good thing or a very bad thing, depending on which end is non-linear.

According to this (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/) it's non-linear but it's on the positive - shew! In summary, to the extent that CO2 can affect the earth's rise in temperature, that effect was maximized long ago (before the Industrial Revolution). The continued addition of CO2 now actually has little impact on any continued warming - if that article is correct.

However, George's concern of the cause of global warming was not in the increase of CO2 alone. He mentioned to me the heat added by our inefficient human activities. Let me illustrate: imagine the earth was inside a glass bottle. And that CO2 was like a silver mirror coating on the outside of the bottle which kept all the radiant heat reflected back to the source (the Earth). Now imagine that the bottle was effectively 95% coated silver. Well, finishing that last 5% of silver coating (adding more CO2) wouldn't really affect things. But what would make them worse at this point was if inside the bottle, the earth itself kept adding heat by burning itself up.

Now, the sun is a HUGE factor because it heats things constantly and in 24 hours puts down radiant heat energy on the surface alone at 527W/M^2 per hour, at the zenith. According to this source (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/) the man made contribution to heat is only about .5% as of 2005. It doesn't sound like much. But I have to admit that I was shocked to see the number that high (0.5%). But the complexities of trying to arrive at those numbers (for man's contributions) are likely fraught with error - it could be more and it's certainly changing fast, 2005 was almost ten years ago and that's a lot of time in today's world where so many nations are rapidly rising from third-world status.

George made the statement that man is incredibly inefficient in his use of energy. And for example, that nuclear power plants are incredibly inefficient. And while they don't throw off toxic fumes, or even CO2, they do heat the environment around them substantially just keeping the temperature of the reactor maintained. And let's suppose that we were able to switch every internal combustion engine over to hydrogen, so that it's burn was clean and pure. Still, 60% of the energy used by that type of engine is wasted in unnecessary heat production thrown off into the environment.

So herein is my next question: are we responsible for releasing more heat than can be radiated off into space at this point due to atmospheric reflectance? My sense for the shear proportions of thus (us on the surface compared to the enormous mass of the earth) is the answer is no. Mr. Sun is the oven burner, and we're the pilot flame. But, could I be wrong?
I normally try to offer solutions to problems here.  But my friends, if I had a solution to this one, it would entail understanding the problem, and I'm just not sure anyone does yet, let alone me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

ObamaCare and Social Security - Doh!

Many decades ago, our government decided that too many people were not planning for their retirement and forced everyone who was employed to use a plan managed by the government. Many people are grateful that social security was there for them. Although, they never had a chance to divert those funds to anything but that and may have been better or worse, they will never know.

But, no one denies that the government has stolen most of that money and used it as a slush fund which it now repays from borrowed money. And because Social Security is scheduled to be bankrupt, now, honest hardworking people who have paid into social security for most of their lives may never see a penny of that paid back to them. Thus, the government is now deciding to renege on it's promise to pay back everyone who paid in so it can ration what it does have to those who it decides need it.

So, we trusted our government to administer our retirement (but we had no choice - we were forced to pay into it). And now, they've spent our retirement on too many things other than our retirement, giving them an excuse to not honor their contract with everyone they owe.

Fast forward 10, maybe 20 years with Obamacare and ask yourself if there is any reason we should trust the government with the funds we give them to administer for our health care? What has changed that will assure us we can trust them to use our money for just our health care and to manage it wisely? I've seen nothing, from any administration or congress in the last 20 years that shows that government is a wise money manager. 
Just sayin'- something smells fishy to me!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

RE: Zimmerman trial and Racism

I'm not going to comment on the outcome of the Zimmerman trial because I wasn't there in the courtroom.  And to form my opinions based on nothing other than the typical sensationalism pumped media information that's overly available would be like designing a building on bad math.  I knew the media was going to try to make this case into a big racism circus when the first pictures of both Zimmerman and Martin appeared (courtesy of our media).  Zimmerman was shown in his most recent form, and Martin was presented in his form as a 12 year old boy when he was actually 17 years old at the time of the incident.  And this was displayed this way in most stories for days with little or no footnotes about that deception.

Statistically, Native Americans likely have the highest incident per group of alcoholism and drunk driving. Does anyone with a brain honestly believe that it's because they are genetically an "Indian" - and drunkenness is  symptom or predisposition of their actual race? No, it's because we have laws and/or policies which have helped shaped their culture in some of those negative ways causing that behavior to be more predominant in that group. 

Our laws and policies specifically address their race and provide them special considerations.  Similarly, we have laws and policies about other minorities which also create a divisional impact. Most black police officers will admit that if 4 people are suspect of a drug crime and one is black, the black one will get the most scrutiny, even by a black officer. Because, statistically, blacks are caught up in these situations more often.  It's not because they're black that they're statistically the most probable suspects.  It's because we have  policies, laws and considerations for their race which have created and/or maintained a negative social condition for them, leading them to be involved in more crimes.  With multiple generations of children now who are truly color blind, the real racism that remains is what was written into our laws and policies that remains. 

Through the best attempts to make the information about actual differences in performance based on race unavailable because of the uproar such creates ("The Bell Curve") real science about what advantages and disadvantages each race typically has is absent.  But we all still base judgements off empirical data nonetheless.  If you're choosing the students to be on your basketball team, and they're all about the same height and you know nothing else about them, chances are you're going to choose the black students first.  If you're picking team mates for your math team and the choice of students all get about the same grades, you'll probably pick mostly Asians. 

When given a "choice" there has to be some criteria we use to decide or it's not a choice, it's just a random drawing.  Obesity maybe more inherent in one race than another, but if I'm choosing teammates for a Sumo tag team, I'm going to pick the fattest kids.  If most of the fat ones in my group happen to be white, someone could say that I'm being racist but that wasn't the case at all.  If it turns out indeed that whites are statistically the most obese for whatever reason, then the fact that the  results of my choosing would mirror the reality statistics simply on a probability basis.

In my life, on the average, I've found the biggest underachievers in life to be those who were spoiled the most and never had to really try to do anything.  Likewise, the biggest achievers (relative to their starting point) have often had to do it alone, without help from anyone.  In this instance, I consider outside additional support an actual handicap.   

Special considerations based on race, whether those considerations benefit or inhibit those individuals creates a divide in either case.  We can't treat people the same, if our government still doesn't treat them the same.  And if they're not treated the same, we can't expect their groupings to behave the same.  If that difference in behavior is noted, it will then be associated with the race and not the cause.  Racism is still very much alive in our laws and policies. If we truly want to end it once and for all we need to start by ending it there.