Tuesday, February 28, 2017


I have come upon a new usage for the term POTUS.  Actually, it is an old use.  It refers to the position but not directly to the incumbent.  This works in the same way as does the juxtaposing of tyrant and tyranny.  Is there a difference between the Emperor of Rome, Caesar, Nero, or Caligula?

There is nothing going on in the current administration that was not predicted in the bold words of H. L. Mencken, when he wrote:
As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
I would argue that we are several innings past opening day in this ballpark.  I don't know a useful president in my lifetime, from FDR's last, partial term, to, it is to be desired, DJT's first and last term -- and I plan on living several more years, maybe two decades more, maintaining that ignorance.

So when you read POTUS from my pen, it will be in observation of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the USA's little royal ruler of England replica.  I could also, more artfully, refer to Humpty Dumpty.

Firstly, King George III of England, the American Colonies' Lord and Master, became, it is told, nuttier than a fruitcake, to speak irreverently.  There is a great deal of wiggle room in the tale of his madness regarding the cause and the inception.  But he had to be crazy to think that a 3000-mile remote control would work over people who were English by birth.  Just provisioning a military occupancy that far away (unlike India and Africa, there was not an abundance of cash-industries or readily tapped natural resources in America).  One must wonder why minds like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson did not see this pitfall, when playing make believe with America's future as a state.  Well, I don't think they thought much about it.  When the Declaration was written (mainly by the three gentlemen above) there were no concerns about the form of government, at least compared with the enormity of ditching a European monarchy.

So what did the drafting committee of the Constitution seize upon as a model, more than a dozen years later?  Like pre-teen boys huddled in a tree house, this set of founders(?) probably considered all kinds of Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer blood oaths, but finally selected a model as close to British monarchy as they could devise.  Most of the colonies had already transplanted whole something very similar to whatever was in favor in their section of England at the time of their charter migrants' having left the mother shore.

So, when I say POTUS, I really mean to say KOTUS -- king of the United States of America.  Our system started as a monarchy and has made no strides since then.  Worse, it seems that almost every royal court has in it a secret conniver, such as Alexander Hamilton, Henry Kissinger, or Steve Bannon, or the master POTUS/conniver in one, FDR.

What is the purpose of this linguistic dipsy-doodle, you may reasonably ask.  It is to focus on the tyranny NOT the tyrant.  Tyrants can be unseated on most good days, but the hard part is keeping him or her from being replaced by another tyrant.  If the systematic, structural tyranny is not disturbed, what hope is there to not replicate it.

Mencken seems to write that it is the office of president and the method of choosing that results in poor consequences.  He can say that again!

I'm here to tell you that no matter who tickles your fancy for the next POTUS, it will be in error.  And for the fools who championed anybody in the recent race, are you serious?  The only possible satisfaction in selecting the winner of a POTUS race is that you might see your opposition get treated like mud, before you begin to be treated that way.  The POTUS race is not for the appreciation of T. C. Mits.

But what is the practical effect of this screed?  It is to emphasize that the wrong cure for the problem is repetitively installing new versions of the problem.  George Washington is Problem 1.0, John Adams is Problem 1.1, Thomas Jefferson is Problem 1.2, ... , Barack Obama is Problem 1.43, and DJT is Problem 1.44.  During Washington's Royal Incumbency, Problem 1.0.0 could have been Alexander Hamilton, while the Iago of Obama's reign, Problem 1.44.0 could be Eric Holder, the world's foremost punt-kicker.

Let us review just for a few moments the chock-full parade of POTUS-farts-in-the-spacesuit in just the first seven weeks of this version.  Then we will call your attention to how it arose from beans eaten by previous occupants of the Oval (Offal/Awful Office).

Executive Orders -- These are like Russian nesting dolls.  We never reach the inner doll, nor finish adding outer dolls.

Dog-and-Pony Shows with High Profile Special Interests and Cultural Niches -- Remember General Motors?  Remember the coal and steel barons (multiple times).  Remember the people (Ask not what your country can do for you?)   Remember the coal and steel unions?  Remember the illegal immigrants (at least twice)?  Remember the druggies?  Remember the economically oppressed?  Remember the gun owners?  Remember "Dont ask, don't tell?"  Remember education.  Remember taxes, tariffs, and fees?  Remember the hippies?
Good bye to my Juan
Goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos Jesus, my Maria
You won't have a name
When you ride the big airplane
All they will call you
Will be "deportees"
from Deportees, or the Los Gatos Plane Crash, by Woody Guthrie

Wow The Groundlings with Fancy Footwork -- All POTUS start off with bureacratic fireworks, missiles and cannons in the Inauguration Parade.  Look at FDR's alphabet soup agency-creation-fest to "end the Depression," or Obama's appointment of a Transparency Csar (where is she today?)

Promise Them Anything -- The current POTUS is not the first to grandstand at the expense of some far less powerful group.  This is political theater as "straw man" (a straw man is a bogus argument that you should not lose, even if it is unrelated to the true problem).

Reliance on Very Short-term Memory Deficiencies -- Smack everybody in the face with as much empty, ostentatious, exorbitant, meaningless pomp-and-circumstance as possible.  Pomp-and-circumstance is always an effective action, until the morning after.

Start Kicking a Common Enemy in the Ribcage -- Up until now, the media have always been ideal in this role.  First of all, the citizenry don't know if the media are singular or plural, but nonetheless, out of control.  Nobody likes bad news, such as "the jamoke you just elected is a drooling idiot, being played by all the crazies out there."  Furthermore, the media being made up of discrete, not-usually-interdependent sacks of mediocrity, has an impossible time putting together a coherent defense on a news cycle basis.  Whereas politicians ordinarily have at least two years to work on their alibis.

FLOTUS Absorbs much of the Personal Attacks -- The "First Lady" no matter how charming or scurrilous takes the lion's share of most of the catty remarks.

Staged Fight with Lawyers -- Have a yelling match with a professional group that everyone hates.  Try to do something that you know the legal system will not allow, particularly if it was one of the most populist undeliverables out there.  It is especially good to lose to a segment of the court system that has pissed off your populismos, previously.  This can work out as a long term strategy as well.  Keep doing things against the law until you can invoke Robin Hood and Jesse James.  Also, try to make sure what you do will fail, but it is something that you have really sold, big-time, to your bases.  There was once an elective insurance commissioner in North Carolina who in all cases disapproved rate increases.  He knew he had no grounds to be upheld, but he became a martyr to the insurance purchasers of his state.

We Make Way Too Much of It -- I found it so refreshing that I spent a dozen days or more in places like Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Panama, and Austria, while never knowing who was the Grand Eminent Archon for any of those places.  I still do not know.

We Argue about the Wrong Question -- There's a debate trick called moving the fulcrum.  A true argument balances between what is known and/or resolved, and what is yet to be known and/or resolved.  The Question is misposed as whether we should have a state, whether we should have a POTUS, does POTUS have appropriate powers, is the selection method for POTUS effective, but WHO will be POTUS in a one-and-done, no-review, witch-trial-process that has no room for correction.

Now, if I insult you and your favorite POTUS, please understand that I am not taking a side against you.  Also, quickly abandon any idea that I may soothe you confirmation bias.  Maybe Lysander Spooner hated the office of POTUS more than me, but you will have to prove it.  I revere Thomas Jefferson as a man of the Age of Reason, but even he made a poor POTUS -- there is that matter of the nonconsultation regarding the Louisiana Purchase.  I would have done exactly the same thing, but I cannot tell you from where the license came.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


This past Autumn, we finally made a trip to Ireland.  It was so overwhelming that I could not decide where to start in writing about it.  I've been fermenting the tale for nearly 4 months now.

The nature of goals.  Back in the early 70s, when my wife and I were involved in a multilevel marketing (MLM) system, by coincidence I had a training session at my day job on the techniques of Management by Objective (MBO).  One of the things I learned was that when success itself was ambiguous, tough to define precisely, try instead to identify a condition that would be true when you had achieved success.  With that in mind, we posted a giant map of Ireland on the wall of our home office, agreeing that success would certainly manifest itself in a journey to the Emerald Isle.


But neither of these paths to riches worked out in the long run.  I was making good money for the time at my administrative job with a coast-to-coast insurance firm, but Lin and I were disasters at MLM.  We enjoyed the people we met, we believed in the products, we could see how the revenue would build.  But we were awful at sales;  we had no clue how to sell to strangers, we always felt bad when selling to friends, and I don't even need to talk about selling to family (that's like living in your parents' basement.)  So, ambitious but ineffective, we didn't go overseas in our twenties.  That goal, however, that map of Ireland stayed in our lives.  Fifty years was all it took.

The last 20 years also prevented us from going to Ireland, but for reasons that Frédéric Bastiat would understand.  Our trips were visible, but they caused us to defer Ireland, a trip that was not visible.  We went to Bermuda, England, Wales, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Aruba, The Panama Canal, (a sick cruise passenger caused us to miss Costa Rica, and we missed Costa Rica again when one of our horses stepped on and broke Lin's foot on the eve of our departure), and the farther reaches of Mexico (Huatulco, Acapulco, and Cabo), Lin went to Alaska, then we went to Maui, Spain, and Gibraltar.  I wouldn't barter any of these experiences, but in hindsight I would have put Ireland ahead of any but New Zealand, in timing and in preference.

I also want to make a brief mention of another nearly lifelong goal, a trip to Australia
.  I first acquired this longing for a place when I first met Lin, and her Father, Charlie Smith.  Charlie spoke glowingly of Australia from the day I met him (a few years before the map of Ireland exercise described above). He soon convinced me.  Australia was #1 on my list, and I regret that Charlie never made it -- his last decade was consumed in a fight against cancer, a fight in which he prevailed for 9 years, often by traveling beyond the tentacles of the American medical establishment.  My yearning for Australia continued until 2003, when almost by accident, an opportunity to go to New Zealand arose.  Kiwi country has been the subsequent place of my life.  I love Kentucky as I love my late Mother, eternally.  I love South Carolina as my home away from home.  I love New England as the origin of my late Mother.  I love travel because of my late Father.  I'll bet he visited every thoroughbred race track in America.  But the place of my life is New Zealand.

New Zealand did cause, however, a reshuffling of priorities.  I am extremely unlikely to ever actually go back to New Zealand.  That 17-hour flight is a deal breaker.  And, according to Bastiat, a choice necessitates the foregoing of another choice.  New Zealand shoved both Australia and Ireland off of my front burners.  Australia was gone permanently, because if I ever travel that far again, I'm going back to New Zealand.  Then Ireland fell to the back row, over the years, due to the phenomenal success of my other travels.

But I am thankful for the passage of my time and the distortion of the modern world.  The passage of my time has been thoroughly wonderful.  Each new day is a gift from wherever the finest gifts are conceived.  The distortion, on the other hand, relates to events such as the attack on the World Trade Center and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  My wonderful new days are just as frequent here at home, where the distortions wrought by the power-addicts are far away.  My advancing age makes it easy to enjoy the former, and makes it difficult to tolerate the latter.

Our trip to Spain's Mediterranean coast and to Gibraltar left memories that are more golden with each passing day, but the jet lag (3 flights one-way in 24 hours) was killing for 3 days -- we laid around our ocean villa like dead fish washed up on the beach.  Then the TSA in Detroit was an unimaginable bad dream.  I never believed I would be treated that way by the people for whom I paid, as a taxpayer, their salaries.  I swore I would not leave the USA again, unless there was some way to circumvent the TSA.  The goal was disappearing with Life's Sinking Sun.

So, about four and a half decades separated the realization from the goal.  Forty-five years ago, America, and in fact most of the world, was only about halfway chronologically, and far less than halfway developmentally, from the world today.  Think just about the topsy-turvy phenomenon that at the end of the 19th Century, 95% of humans lived in rural environs.  In a hundred years 95% were headed for the larger cities, and their 'burbs.  I was a bit taken by surprise that Ireland, particularly Dublin, was extremely faster, quicker, more dynamic than I could have imagined.  There was a robustness that I could not have anticipated.  Dublin has become an information age city, offering high tech jobs as its principal character in the modern world.  I was reminded much more of New York City, Silicon Valley, and the Boston 128 Corridor than I was of Kentucky, which has retained many bucolic expanses.  Check the comparative figures that follow:

2016 population of  sq mi
Ireland 4,713,993 27,133
New Zealand 4,565,185 103,483
Kentucky 4,339,367 40,409
Ireland is both most populous and least endowed with terra firma.  In Kentucky, there are 2 city areas with greater than 6 figure populations, and only 1 over half-a-million.  Lexington accounts for 1-in-16 bluegrassers, while Louisville does for 1-in-8. Northern Kentucky, adjacent to Cincinnati, Ohio takes up most of the rest of the state's people.  In New Zealand, there is one major city, Auckland, three times as large as the Capital, Wellington, as well as Christchurch on the far less densely peopled South Island (LOTR movie fans would recognize many venues).  The only other 6-figure city is Hamilton, between Auckland and Wellington, all squeezed into a corridor of the North Island.  Great expanses of countryside and spectacular scenery lie beyond the scattering of cities, observing the major industries of shepherding and forestry.  Now, think of Ireland, with her 3 largest cities in a crescent from Dublin, on the River Liffey via Cork to Limerick, on the River Shannon.  Dublin City and County has a population of 1-and-a quarter million, about 5/8 of the people who live in the Greater Dublin Area, a region comprising Dublin and the counties of Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.  The traffic jams are white-knuckle time.  Dublin itself is about the size of Louisville, in Kentucky.

These are three of the most beautiful places on Earth, with two still largely quiet and rural.  Ireland has become one of the few vigorous places in the European Union's economy.  Day or night the cities above are pulsing with life.

Next time, I will include my view of Bristol and Bath, in England, where we spent 3 days decompressing from the trans-Atlantic flight and the jet lag.  That didn't work very well, getting blown away in our second experience with Heathrow International and first experience with Aer Lingus.  I definitely wish to cover, in a future installment, why Ireland has historically been, and remains, one of the most voluntary and natural societies on Earth.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Non Sequitur -- A Tanka

Nobody asked but ...

Non sequitur, does
Not follow, does not lead, it's
Not reality.
The Bowling Green Massacre
Was e'er last night in Sweden.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Nobody asked but ...

If actions are not based on the NAP, peace, non-authoritarian, non-nationalist, anti-protectionist principles, indeed, they are just a patchwork of greedy impulses, non-libertarian to an extreme.

File under: why a POTUS can never be a voluntaryist or a libertarian.

Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Words Poorly Used #77.1 -- Impeachment

This week, after reading Skyler Collins' offering in Two Cents, I came upon a new approach to Words Poorly Used.  I will gild the lily by running the words or phrases through OneLook.com, linking them, then commenting on the unusual that I encounter via that process.

"Impeachment" at OneLook
noun: a formal document charging a public official with misconduct in office

Pretty simple, huh? But not quite. What leaps out to me is "charging ... with" not "finding ... guilty of ..." Was Bill Clinton found guilty? Was Dick Nixon found guilty ... or even impeached?

▸ Words similar to impeachment
prosecutionrecusalousterdisqualificationindictmentdismissalremovaloustingmotionaccusationrecalldestitutionindictedrebukeaccountabilityreproachnegligencearraignmentdepositionsegregationisolationappealaccusedaccusingaccusecarelessnesschargeisolatingchallengedefencelesschargedcontinuedperjurytreasoncensuredisbarmentreelectionjudiciaryconstitutionalsenatepresidencynullificationacquittalelectioncourt martialmalfeasancebriberycongressionalappeachimpeachabilitymonicagategovernorshipspeakershipfillibustercongressmengermanenesssenatorsfilibustercorruptioninterpellationadjournmentconstitutionalismquo warrantosenatorialclotureethics committeemisdoingwatergate scandallegesecessiondemocracycompurgationcontempt of congressexonerationsolonsrichard milhous nixonseditiondestabilizationlegislativechimangoinvestigatorybill of attainderdemocraticarrogationexecutive privilegenollelustrationobstructionismmonica lewinskyjudicial activismsubpoena ad testificandumindictmentslieutenant governorshiprecusationcandidacypardonprorogationstatehousedirect examinationdissolution (see more...)
Interesting entries here are:

  1. prosecution -- this does not always follow impeachment
  2. ouster -- Nixon was oustered, but not impeached, while both Andrew Johnson and Clinton were acquitted.
  3. The same sort of observation applies to similar words such as "disqualification" and "removal."
  4. There were cases of euphemism in drafting the constitutional language.
  5. Whether intended 0or not, all three of these episodes had many consequences, not the least of which was an equivalence to a bill of attainder.

▸ Words most associated with impeachment
impeachedimpeachproceedingswatergateperjuryjudiciarynixonacquittalclintontrialcomplaintconvictionacquittedconvictobstructionpickeringhastingsbriberysenate, ... 
 For example ...

▸ Popular adjectives describing impeachment
softpresidentialparliamentary, suchpossiblepublicattemptedcertainsuccessfulformalsubsequentdirectthreatenedimmediatefamouscollateralleastantiseriousproregularfuturecongressionalimpendingterriblenearabovegravevirtualfavoredintendedjudicialunsuccessfulactualeventualimproperslightestcelebratedimminentunusuallegislativecriminalsolemnproposedmemorablepotentialpostmadabortivefalsedeservedrecordedinsufficientconstitutionallibellousgrosspresumptuouspartisanimpliedjudgeviolentintermediatefraudulentpriorindirect
Got to love words like soft, serious, terrible, improper, mad, ...

▸ Rhymes of impeachment
preachmentbeseechmentappeachmenttreatmentagreementachievementin agreementdisagreementconcealmentbereavementpretreatmentvehementmaltreatmentappeasement,... mistreatmenteasementunderachievementretreatmentimpeachmentsuniquementpreachmentsbementaftertreatmentmalheureusementrevetementfeoffment, ...
Just for the fun of it.

▸ Invented words related to impeachment

Fun score
Input wordsNew word (click to hear)Pronunciation

Sh!ts and giggles (LOL) ...

Phrases that include impeachment:   impeachment of wasteimpeachment in the usimpeachment in ukraineimpeachment of bill clintonimpeachment trial of andrew johnsonmore... 

Now, let's check out the etymology -- from where did the word come?

impeachment (n.) Look up impeachment at Dictionary.com

late 14c., enpechement "accusation, charge," from Old French empeechement "difficulty, hindrance; (legal) impeachment," from empeechier "to hinder, impede" (see impeach). As a judicial proceeding on charges of maladministration against a public official, from 1640s.
Isn't "(legal) impeachment" a redundancy?  Aren't "hinder" and "impede" obvious?  Oh, oh, oh!  Maladministration???  Never!!!

Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Words Poorly Used #77 -- Impeachment

I saw my first instance of a partisan calling for impeachment (of POTUS) today.  When I was a kid, I thought impeachment was like drawing and quartering, and that only 1 POTUS had actually been thusly dispatched.  Nowadays, we only have to look back four decades, and change.  What about the Nixon Impeachment?  Never happened.  What about the Clinton Impeachment?  It happened, but nothing happened.  The impeachment, vis a vis POTUS, clause is just a pressure valve, for letting off steam, aka very hot air.  If you stand a few feet away, you'll be fine, just fine. 

Words Poorly Used #76 -- Communication

As we try to communicate, we frequently learn that communication is difficult.  Today, Kilgorette and I had the following push-me-pull-you:
  me:  And I will straighten the left side of the downstairs
her:  <stinkeye>
  me:  And I will straighten the north side of the downstairs
her:  <rolleyes>
  me:  And I will straighten the horse barn side of the downstairs
her:  OK!
Then I meandered off into a nerdy analysis of the foregoing.  I used the first reference, "left," as a very abstract locator that was dependent on Kilgorette knowing either my physical position or my mind position or both.  The second reference was much more concrete, "north," but still an abstraction created by geographers, in whom Kilgorette is not interested (relative to my extreme map-geekhood).  We finally had agreed on an abstraction, relative to "the horse barn," a thing fully within her wheelhouse.  She remarked that it was "reality."  Not really.  We were located, in two different places where we could not see "left," "north," or "the horse barn."  We could have gotten much more concrete by my saying "every space you can see, indoors, from the foot of the stairs, but that still would have referenced our memories of that visual space.  We could only get fully concrete by going downstairs, hand-in-hand (not a bad idea!) to look things over to agree on what constituted cleaning the space.  O, what a complicated web we weave, even when we seek NOT to deceive!

-- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Nobody asked but ...
To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. . .I place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. 
– Thomas Jefferson 
Yet we bound ourselves, and continue to add more bindings, to a mechanism that is incapable of avoiding these perils and their consequences. 

As much of a Jefferson admirer as I am, I regret that he misunderstood the inevitability of the machine and his own naivete of trust in human reason as an antidote. 

But we must remember that Jefferson had little to do with the chains and bonds of the ruse that is called the Constitution of the United States.  His contribution was the soaring Declaration of Independence.  He was safely tucked away with the earthly delights of Paris, as President Washington's Minister to France, during the time that the Articles of Confederation were dying a predictable death -- the critical 5-year run-up to the Constitution's drafting and ratification.

It seems that Jefferson was still romantically attached to liberty; but his eyes and his dreams were on the arising French Revolution.  He must have assumed he had left the American experiment in good hands.  This is the nature of idea men -- they are great at founding dreams, but they are terrible at (if not entirely absent during) implementation.  They lack the patience for detail, they have scorn for micro managers.  We need only look at how Jefferson managed his personal life for vivid illustration.  He died deeply in debt, and unable to leave his dear Monticello to his family.

I'm not saying that Jefferson had his head in the clouds.  I'm saying he was a minarchist, at least, and an anarchist at heart, in my view.  The trouble of course was that Jefferson was patiently waiting for natural law to assert itself, while hotspur Alexander Hamilton was sucking all of the air out of the free-spirited new nation.

Hamilton was sharpening the politician's technique of the big lie -- tell the people what they want, then promise delivery of these things, then begin maneuvering to withhold exactly these same things, planning instead to give them to your cronies.

Hamilton was a master of distraction.  He established what the Constitution should do by tendering a draft that no one would like, which draft was almost casually laid aside by the deciders.  Then Hamilton even departed the conference without voting on the final version.  But his yes men whom he left behind at the conference knew precisely what to do.  

I have often said that the Bill of Rights was a direct distraction and even a kind of subliminal list of all of the rights of the people that were intended for subordination.  In its naked state, at drafting time, it looked like a list of things the government could not do.  It is entirely unlikely that someone who had a positive expectation for the Bill of Rights could foresee the contortions of rationalization that ill-intended bureaucrats could evoke to render the enumerated "rights" as a nest of statist vipers.

But I toiled in the ruined vineyards of statism for many years, where I could see the modus operandi. It was: build a cover of words, what words makes no difference, what context makes no difference.  Laws, legislation, regulations, interpretations are all clay in the hands of the seasoned bureaucrat.  Shape them as to meet the exigencies.  The oligarchy has every minute of every day to fashion schemes around what is naturally right.  The victims, who have their promised and inalienable rights alibied away, never see the lightening bolt that strikes them.

Words Poorly Used #75 -- Evolution

We make way too many assumptions about the nature of evolution, without questioning true, false, or irrelevant.  I will talk here about three:
-- humans are the focus of evolution.  Not!  In probability, as Verbal Vol wrote here, the water bear (http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/tardigrade/index.html) can survive far beyond homo sapiens, but there is no clue as to what it will become, or even in which direction.  Evolution is a random process.  In a complex organism, such as man, there are random genetic and memetic changes that may result in one effect or another.  It is not a compliment to say a human is "evolved."
-- the same rules apply to human behaviors as to human organisms.  We've seen the work of evolution physically.  Examples are the duckbill platypus, and elephants -- truly odd contraptions.  And, as well, we've seen the work of evolution behaviorally.  The process that built the platypus, also built war, the Macarena, and Congress (and legislation).
-- this is the best of all possible worlds.
There are many more that may expand the list, or be in subsets or supersets of the matters on this list.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Magical Thinking

Nobody asked but ...

I couldnt refrain from sharing this brilliant poem from my Facebook friend, Troy Camplin.

Magical Thinking

I do believe I ought to bang my head
Against this wall again--I do believe
This time will work--I'll bring alive the dead
A final failing time--yet none will grieve
When this penultimate attempt will fail--
Just three or four times more and nature will
Give in, her laws will break, I will prevail--
And when I do I'll send nature the bill.

I'm certain that, unaided, I can fly--
I won't give in to nature's tyranny--
I know my good intentions will ensure
This leap success--I know I'll never die,
That I can overcome mere gravity--
I know this since I know my heart is pure.

-- Troy Camplin

   --- forwarded to you by Kilgore Forelle

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Cognitive Bias #1 -- Anchoring

Nobody asked but ...

Anchoring is a cognitive bias that we encounter in every negotiation, even with the snooze bar on our morning alarm clock.  A common example would be the case where an employee asks her boss for a raise.  The negotiation will then take place in the range between the current compensation and the ask or the offer, whichever comes first.  Politicians take advantage of this cognitive bias among their constituents.  They will pin a campaign promise, no matter how vague, to a limiting concrete -- I will build a wall (all answers to who, what, when, why, and how are blurry) on the border with Mexico (specific answer to where).  This incites those who want a wall at any cost.  This anchors the debate on the Mexican border, not on the why of the wall.  The argument never gets to whether we should have a wall.  The minority who made the wall their prime reason for voting for the successful candidate no longer have to justify the wall.

Kilgore Forelle