All posts by James Daniel

On White Male Prililege

The other day, my friend Lin (AKA my Ex), made a comment about how I really didn’t understand about all the talk about ‘Whte Male Privlage’.  How, being a white male, I really didn’t and couldn’t understand the feelings of those who resented it.  An I was both hurt and angered by the comment.

How could she say that to me, of all people, didn’t she know better?  It is enough to say we eased thru the tenseness of the moment and went on with out visit.  But I got me think about the whole issue of Privlage, of who has it, and who knows they have it.  If we could make a good study of it I think we would find that most (a very large percentage) of white males are totally unaware of having any Privlage at all.  An why is this?  Is it just white male obliviousness?  Do we just refuse to see it?  In most cases I think not.

I submit for your consideration the following hypothesis:

That ‘White Male’ Privilege is not privlaged, but rather the absence of discrimination.

Or perhaps it is best to say what we call out as “White Male” Privilege is the absence of discrimination. What I’m trying to say is that most of what is identified as being a ‘privilege’ acting in a way everyone should be treated but aren’t. To all the White Males out there I call on you to do everything in your power, in your everyday lives, to treat everyone the same way you expect to be treated. Everyone you see as not ‘white’ in you daily life take a little extra effort to see that you treat them just like you want to be treated. Apply this to every woman who crosses your path today, an everyday. An when you see another person you see as ‘one of us’ doing, saying, acting in a way you would object to if you were that person, then call it out. Ask them why they are acting that way? Tell them to please stop doing what ever they were doing in your presence.

An, please, don’t do it with anger. Ask it as a question, as a little child would. More in confusion than in anger. Don’t give them any chance to take what you say as a personal challenge or insult. For me it is all a mater of WDJD (What Did Jesus Do) for everyone else just replace the J with what ever divinity of love kindness and forgiveness you wish.

In other words…..Be A Good Man.

The Wealth of Nations and 1776

In the late 20th century people who say that Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, (generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations) shows why ‘Capitalism’ works are forgetting the world and culture he was writing was. This is a world where rapid transit was by sea.  Most people walked and few ever went more than 7 miles from where they were born.  This is a world where most people were farmers and in some nations the middle class was smaller than the nobility.

Most business were ‘small’ like two or three people small. An big business was never over a 100 people.  Where money was cold hard cash (coin mind you) that you still had to check out to be sure of it’s purity (monarchs still liked to debase coinage to stretch the budget) and true weight (people like to shave or Knick coins).  An people lived in neighborhoods so small everyone knew everyone else and was suspicious of everyone else.

In Great Britain (England, Scotland,and Wales) most towns had just had Church & Chapel if not just Church. If you acted badly in your business everyone would know and best you would have a very hard time of it.  If you were very unlucky or very bad, you could even have your “Name read out” on Sunday.  Your wife, if wife you had, would could be ostracized from all town social life and finding suitable marriages for you children would be next to impossible.  Now I can hear some of you saying, “But what about all those stories I read like “Pride and  Prejudice”.  First the people in the story are not middle class they are ‘Gentry’ AKA lower upper class.  An if you look closely few, if any, of the characters are in “Trade” which is what business was called back then.

So what does this all have to do with Capitalism?  Simply that the Capitalism being discussed is small/local Capitalism.  Capitalism with few and easily identified entries into starting a business.  Just consider this:  Why was the silver smith shop of Paul Revere in Boston, a city, and not in a village like Braintree.  Several reasons but two of the most important was access to raw materials (shipped in over water to Boston Harbor) and customers.  That is the people with both the need to buy silver and the cash gold to buy it.  It would do us well to remember that most artisans did their work on consignment.  This went for cobblers, cartwrights, blacksmiths as well as silver or gold smiths.  Very little would you see a shop filled with goods you could come in and buy.

Also the law was very different back then.  Like modern day full partnerships, someone like Paul Revere, or even John Hancock, was personally responsible for all debts and liabilities of the business.  It is just about this time you see the first limited/shared liability companies showing up in London (to wit “ lloyds of London”) where an investor was liable only for the amount of money he invested and nothing more.  Even then some very interesting cases in commercial law come out of the period that forced Parliament to make new law.  Next comes the steam revolution that suddenly made traveling over hundreds of miles in a day something that could be done by most anyone.  I shan’t go into more detail on the industrial revolution as there are many many good books and online classes on the subject.

What is important here is that the type and form of capitalism we have now would be totally unrecognizable to Adam Smith.  Trying to justify economic activity using his writing makes as much since as starting a business based solely on cold hard cash and selecting your business location on foot traffic of the wealthy.

An Now….Congress

Tomorrow Cogress will be returning from their summer (not) recess.  They now have a great opportunity to show just how well they can do their job.  We need to get funding for the relief effort for Harvey done ASAP.  I know that the 115th Congress has not been very good at moving bill thru but this should be an unguarded slam dunk.

The entire Texas delegation, both Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, should have had their staffs working on a bill since the first visit of President Trump.  Now is the time, Congress is the place for our elected representatives  to live up th the etymology of  name of that august body…’to walk togeather’.  This is not the time to deal in political issues and battles.  Now is not the time to ‘one up’ you political opponent(s).  Now is not the time to think about winners and looses.  The only loosers are the people in the states hit by Harvey, be they from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas or where every.


So, dear Congress, now we will see if you can do the job you were brought togeather for or are you just a collection of political hacks.  Show the American people just what you can do.

A look at the Climate Change debate

Over the past few weeks I’ve been in a little debate over Climate Change and it has come to me that most folks have no idea what is really going on.  By this I mean, in the debate and just what they are doing.  So I thought to take some time and lay it all out.  To help with this I have drawn a simple  decision tree.

As you can see the first question is “Does Climate Change Exists?”  Is it really happening or not.  This is what we most often here as what the debate is about, the “Climate Change Deniers”.  Their position is quite simple, Climate change is not happening, therefor we need do nothing.  The major problem with this position is that it flies in the face of the great majority, last reported at 97% of climatologists do hold that Climate Change exits. (They also hold that humans are a causal factor.) To hold that Climate Change does not exist means these people find themselves arguing science with little or no scientific training.  More often than not they end up just looking foolish or worse.  This just maybe why the also seem to be angry.  I submit that their real problem is they don’t realize that what they really want is not to do anything about Climate Change because they don’t like any of the proposed actions to deal with Climate Change.

As you can see from the chart there are several paths to doing nothing even if you accept that Climate Change is real.  I shan’t go into any of the points in the argument(s) at this time as they are both long and complex in most cases.  The next question is “Should we do anything?”  As you can see answering NO gets you right to “Do Nothing”.  The simplest argument for saying NO to this question is that Climate Change is important and/or significant.   If you answer YES to this question we move on to the next question “Can we do anything?”

Once again, if you answer NO you end right back to Do Nothing.  This is one of the questions we need to be talking about very seriously and while some of us are way to many of us are  caught up talking about the earlier questions.  It maybe that in the end there is nothing we can do to have any effect on Climate Change, but this is not something I believe.  So if we answer YES to “Can we do anything?” we move on to “Can we have any effect?”

While this question looks a lot like the previous question it is not the same.  Before we were asking if anything thing can be done, and here were are asking if what we can do will have any positive effect on Climate Change or not.  If we answer NO then we get to move on to the question “Can we have any mitigating actions?” An if we answer YES we go on to “Will it be totally effective?”

In all these cases we have moved on to what we need to do about Climate Change.  You will notice we have yet to start on the issue of “Should we do anything about Climate Change?”  I shall leave this question for another time.


On being a Snowflake

Recently it has become quit vogue with many in the conservative set to call those to the left of them “Snowflakes”.  They mean it as an insult, and unfortunately too many of my fellow progressives and liberals are taking it as such.  They should not.  We need to  ware it with pride as a symbol of our innate strength.  Here is why.

Yes, individually snowflakes are easily destroyed.  Just a little blast of heated rhetoric and we all to often melt. But when we come together we are a force to contend with. When we are blown by the winds of discontent we become a blizzard that blind and freezes anyone foolish enough to appose us. But we don’t need the wind, we just need to stand togeather as one. We are mighty, we have weight and perseverance. An when someone is dumb enough to make a noise that movies us we rush down the mountainside and  bury them. We are both beautiful and silent in are coming and we are relentless in the persuit of our goals.

We come as the promise of the rental of spring after the fall of summer. We are the sign of the rest need for the coming spring. Our passing brings the clear fresh water of the lakes and streams that Roar with our great energy.  We are Snowflakes, we come in flurries we came in blizzard.  We stay and protect the weak safe and snug in there homes while the predictors walk upon us and bother us not.

We are Snowflakes and we are mighty!

Two weeks in, and counting

It has now been two weeks since Donald Trump has been President and our great experiment into having amateurs running the Administration of the USA.  I really shouldn’t call most of the people in the administration Amateurs, some of them have very respectable resumes.  People like Reince Priebus, who’s politics I hardly dislike, has avery impressive resume. But others like, Stephen Bannon, have no practical experience at all.  Just the kind of person I’d select to be a participant in an experiment in have non-politicians running an administration.

So what can we see so far?  Quit a lot, but just how significant any of it is is hard to say.  Like all experiments in Political Science there can be a great deal of  noise an furry signifying nothing (or very little).  We have had much a do about all the Executive Orders coming out of the White House these past two weeks.  But just what do they mean? An what about the actions that have gotten much less play in the media? Actions like making Stephen Brannon a member of the National Security Council Principles and removing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director National Intelligence from that same group? Or the attack where we lost a navy seal and a young girl died?

If I was someone who placed any worth in conspiracy theories I’d be looking for what was being hidden.  But I’m not, so all I’m going to say is.  When faced with an exceedingly complex problem, the simplest explanation is often the answer.  Never credit malice (or evil intent) where simple  stupidity (or incompetence) will suffice.

In either case, simple incompetence or conniving intentions, we need to keep our eyes open and be ready to act.  Both bad intentions, or stupidity can cause great damage to our country.



Lawful Vs Legitimate

Ever since the election there has been a great deal of talk about whether President Trump is the legitimate or illegitimate.  I’d like to put my two cents in for what it is worth.  To place my bonifide’s on the table let me just state the following for those of you who do not know me.  Just about 50 years ago I was granted a B.A. In Political Science by CSUN.  One of the things I studied was the many arcane definitions, like all sciences, that are used in Political Science.  The definition of Legitimate and Lawful were two among many.

Like all sciences, political science has many words that have definitions that are ‘discussed’ (read that argued hotly) by holders of deferent theory’s.  Legitimatcy is one of the favorite words to discuss. (If you don’t believe me just google “Political Science definition Legitimatcy” and see what pops up.). Like all other students of Political Science I, too, have my own preferred definition which I will now try to write down here.  To me a office holder is “Legitimate” when

A person(s) is elected or appointed to an office by following the excepted laws, norms and customs of the polity the to which the office is a part of.”

Not very clear is it?  ;) To try and make it clearer what I’m trying to say is this.  The legitimacy of an elected official is not just following the letter of the law(s) governing the election.  There are customs and’ norms’ of the process and these ‘norms’ and customs are often not stated, or not stated clearly and far worse they are only held/ expressed at an individual level.  This means that each and every person of the polity in question has the right and privilege of deciding if the office holder is legitimate or not.

This is where President Trump gets into trouble.  He is the lawfully elected President of the United States of America.  All the “T’s” were crossed and all the “I’s” doted in the election procedure.  The Electoral College members were lawfully elected in the several states. Thier ballets were lawfully cast and properly counted and Donald Trump got over 270 of there aforesaid votes.  He won and has duly and lawfully sworn in.  He is The President.  By Law.  But now the problems start.

Unlike the President, or CEO, of a Company, POTUS does not get his job done by telling everyone else what to do.  He has to work with both Houses of Congress.  He has to work with the governments of the  several states, often as not.  In fact, if a President try’s to tell the Congress, ‘do this because I say so!’ He can get in trouble, even when they agree with him, Congressmen/women and Senators will get their back up and say “Wait just a God Damn Minute, Mr. President”.  An sometimes they will just not do what needs to be done because they are mad a him or don’t think he has the legitimate ‘right’ to do what he want’s to do.  To get things done the President need to have what is called now “Political Capital” and a primary source of Political  Capital is how many people view the legitimacy of the President at any given time.  An here is where President Trump has his problem.  His entire election has been about defying norms and customs.

President Trump has not released his tax returns before, or after, the election as has become the norm.  He has show he does not care if there is any conflict of interest, either apparent or real, between his own personal wealth and the Office of the Presidency, as has been the norm for over a hundred years.  He has attacked the White-house press publicly and personally and has stated he wishes to ‘ban’ some of the press corps from the White-house.  I could go on but these few items do illustrate my point effectively.  President Trump not only does not follow the Norms and Customs of our government he seems to be seeking out ways to violate them.  Sometime in the future, sometime very soon if he keeps on going the way he is going, he will finally over steps the bounds and then all hell is going to break out.

When he does step over the bounds it is vitally important that those of us who work to bring him to justice stay with in the bounds of American protests.  We must stay peaceful, no mater how hard it is and don’t mistake me, it will be hard.  For some of us it will be the hardest thing we will ever do.  But do it we MUST!  We must follow in the footsteps of the great peaceful protesters of the twentieth century, people like Gandi and Dr. King.  We must be willing to let the forces of oppression knock us down and then stand back up and not strike back.

The time is Now, the place is Here.

Why Size Matters

Ever since Saturday’s interesting press briefing about how large the turnout was at the Trump Inauguration there has been a great deal of talk about just why it is so important to him.  I think most everyone is missing the most simple and obvious answer.  President Trump is a businessman and he measures success and failure using business  metrics.  since is is mostly a Marketer/Salesman/Showman he uses the metrics he is used to.

So ask yourself the, what is most important to the entertainment impresario?  Not the performer, but the man who owns the show?  Is it not the size of the house?  Is not the size of the house how the impresario measures the success of his show? Sure good reviews are great, but only if they pull in the crowds. It won’t mater how many rave reviews the show gets if it doesn’t translate ‘gate’. Is this not what he and his people are talking about?  The press is saying he had a poor house compared to the preceding show.  How Demeaning.


What also is important  to a Marketer/Salesmen is the size of the crowd because a small crowd means you have to have a higher conversion rate to make the same amount on sales with a small crowd vs a large crowed.  Example for all those not conversant:

Say you need to make $1000 to break even if your crowd is 1000 people and each individual sail is $1 you will need to make 1000 sales and if only one sale per person can be made you need a conversion rate of 100%.  Now if your crowd is 1,0,000 people you need to only a conversion rate of 1% to make the same $1000.  Now most Marketers go into a sales situation with a known or expected conversion rate.  Given what you are selling you can then estimate from the crowd size just how many sales should be made and this is the sales goal given the salesman. A good Marketer wants to maximize the number of people he is selling to so he can have a lower conversion rate and still meet his sales goal.

See, President Trump is not using the traditional metrics used by politicians to measure success/failure he is using his old, familiar metrics.  The metrics he as used for most of his adult life and the press has told the world he didn’t get good crowds and he is afraid the ‘boss’  is watching, even though he’s the boss, he can’t quite shake the fear of being called out at the next sales meeting for a poor show.

So get used to it America, you asked for a Businessman to run the country just like a business.  Get used to him using the wrong metrics to measure success/failure because don’t expect Pres. Trump to change.

This Historic Day

On this historic Inauguration Day, and believe me it is historic, I thought I’d take time to share just why I think it is historic.  By historic I don’t mean something that historians and people who love history think is important. Not there are not, already, many things to make the Trump Presidentcy interesting.  Being elected without getting even a plurality of the vote, having the lowest approval of any any President since approval was measured, just to name two interesting historical points.  No, I’m talking about JFK, or Harding, or Hover historic.

Not since FDR took over from Hover has this country embarked on such a great political science experiment.  We are now going to see if what many business schools have been teaching for decades, that at high enough levels of management it is all the same.  That knowing what the job is about doesn’t have much effect on doing the job as it is all the same.  Managing Banking conglomerate is much like managing an Manufacturing conglomerate.  Now we get to find out if making deals in the financial stratospher is just like making deals in international politics.

Decades from now Political Scientists will marvel at our audacity/  courage/foolishness/stupidity to take radical move.  Think I’m being pulemic?  Well, lets just look at a few facts.  President Trump has absolutely no experience in any kind of politics, other than the petit politics of business, and now he will have to work with some of the most practiced practitioners of the arcane art of gran politics.

Most, if not all, of his cabinet has no experience with the departments they are going to be running.  Some, like his Secretary of State, do have some experience running ultra large corporations.  But corporations are not nations and they do not play for the same trivial stakes like money and personal power.  These people play for real stakes, life, death and the existence of whole nations and people.

Others, like President Trumps Secondary of Education, comes in with no experience in education other than promoting her idea of how education should be run.  She has no expreance in management, other than being a board member, in running a business and not even that in running a school.  She has not even been in a public school herself.  So now we have a non-academic (aka dilettante) theoretican running a national department. We are really putting to the test the hypothesis that anyone with half a brain can do the job.

So now we are on the road to find out if the long held belief that the government should be run just like a business.  We have a Business President and a business cabinate.  Let the experiment begin!

Where is the Earth Shattering Kaboom?

Earth Shattering KaboomOne of my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons has Marty the Martian asking ‘Kaboom!, Where is the Earth shattering Kaboom?”  I don’t wish to make any predictions as to when, or how soon, or how, things are going to blow up for the GOP and the new Administration but I’m sure it is there should be an Earth Shattering Kaboom.

To all the supporters of the New President,  please rest assured I’m not dissing you.  In fact I’m taking you at your word.  For the entire election we have just been thru I have listen to you talk about how Trump is going to shake things up in Washington.  Well, congratulations you have just lit the PU-36 Space Modulator and we have no Bugs to put it out.  We can only wait for the KABOOM and then start picking up the pieces.

Don’t believe me, lets just look at the flying sparks:

1:  POTUS is in a running fight with ALL of the agency responsible for giving the Government the information it needs to do it’s job.

2: POTUS would rather believe what Wikileaks, Brightbart, and than the FBI, CIA, and NSA.

3: The Republican House leadership has ordered the CBO to NOT run the numbers on the repeal of ACA (Obamacare) so they, and we, are running blind.

4: The Republican congressional leadership has been told by many (I shan’t say all since I can not fact check it) of the Insurance industry’s associations that “Repeal and Delay” is the worst possible thing they can do.

5: The Republican majority is giving a pass to several of Trumps major appointments a pass on completing the basic background check.  The same one they insisted be completely finished before they would even start the hearings for Obama’s appointments.

6: Trump is now the target of Anonymous.

7: Trump is now in a fight with Congressman Lewis over his  legitimacy as President.

8: The stories about the connections between Trump and Russia just keep coming.

9: Trump is now come out supporting having a replacement law before the GOP repeals the ACA without coordinating with the GOP congressional leadership.

I could go on but these sparks will do for now.