Friday, November 15, 2013



The idea of unintended consequences dates back at least to Adam Smith, the Scottish Enlightenment, and consequentialism (judging by results).  However, it was the sociologist Robert K. Merton who popularized this concept in the twentieth century.

In his 1936 paper, "The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action", Merton tried to apply a systematic analysis to the problem of unintended consequences of deliberate acts intended to cause social change. He emphasized that his term "purposive action... [is exclusively] concerned with 'conduct' as distinct from 'behavior.' That is, with action that involves motives and consequently a choice between various alternatives".  Merton also stated that "no blanket statement categorically affirming or denying the practical feasibility of all social planning is warranted."
More recently, the law of unintended consequences has come to be used as an adage or idiomatic warning that an intervention in a complex system tends to create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes.  Akin to Murphy's law, it is commonly used as a wry or humorous warning against the hubristic belief that humans can fully control the world around them.
[This from Wikipedia]

Before Senator Barack Obama shellacked Killary Klinton for the Democratic presidential nomination for the President of the Democrats in 2008, (he won, we lost).  I wrote something back then about him being a Whirling Dervish, whirling from here to there, from this to that, from black to white, but NEVER settling to review details and finish anything he started.  That was five years ago, maybe six.  I was right on.  And the mess of all messes, proving he's a mindless, arbitrary dilettante is the ACA --- AbamaCare Act (see, the man can't even spell and I doubt he reads much, if he can read at all.  Bullshitting, yes he can do that!  Oh, excuse me, he CAN read Teleprompters.  That's about it.)

Now he has extorted, bribed and changed the Senate rules to pass -- without ONE Republican vote -- that's unilaterialism (but bilaterial to Obama) --  the Affordable Car monstrosity.  Again, never reading it (nor I guess did any Congresspeople, maybe a Republican or five) his handpicked non-reader Ms. Sebelous or however one spells it, threw out a thousand gaggles of rules, regulations and diktats.

VOILA:  One massive fucked-up mess.  Obama's solution: the country is turning against me, I think (not really think) I'll dictate a new law to make everyone like me again.  And he tosses out some illegal (he can't by the Constitution make law) bandaid without knowing what the fuck he's doing or, worse, what it'll do.  Arbitrary rule by a man.  What happened to the Rule of Law the foundation of our political system.  Obama doesn't seem to know about it.  Any he changes with Congress part of the law he thinks people won't like him for.

As I said years ago: The man has no experience.  The man is not particularly bright.  The man seems charismatic, handsome and nice to some.  He love, love, loves being the Sexy Prexy and rubbing things with George Clooney, Jay Zee, Bouncee and the rest of the very rich entertainers.  And that's the beginning and end of his presidency.  I hope our country can survive him.

His legacy might be a joke from late night TV.  And that's about it.  Oh, yes the color of his nose!



Thank you, your Delphi who foretold the future with Obama!

Monday, October 21, 2013


Congress -- of both parties -- fixes sugar prices in exchange for campaign contributions from sugar producers.  Evan in the face of a world-wide glut where sugar prices have dropped 50% but in the U. S. price is protected by law while the international price is around 19 cents a pound U. S. prices are 22 cents.  Candy manufacturers are moving factories -- and jobs -- to Mexico, Thailand and not the U. S. which has dropped over 20% in candy-making employment over the decade.  The U. S. Commerce Department said that three jobs in the candy and confectionary industries are lost for every one job saved in sugar growing by fixing the price of sugar.  But Commerce did not project the number of members of Congress whose jobs were saved.  That is the most important consideration.

And why is unemployment in the U. S. over 7%?


Sunday, September 29, 2013

MIDDLE CLASS FUNK, True of False: there is one.

MIDDLE CLASS FUNK, True of False: there is one.


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics," was a statement of Disraeli, Mark Twain or someone else.  Whenever the counting started so did the lies, or, to be kind, the exaggerations.  But is it correct that how the middle-class feels is exclusively a product of statistics, of monetization?  And if so, exactly how does having or not having physical things contribute to their so-called funk?  The headline begs the question, the fallacy that simply assumes that there is there a middle-class funk.  Who says there is?  Compare the middle class in the ‘Fifties to which my parents belonged.  They didn’t seem to care much about money or what the “Joneses” had (as in “keeping up with the Joneses”) or if they did it didn’t trickle down to us kids.  We were very late with a television, but I can’t remember being jealous, we just went over to Doug’s house.  His dad was a dentist and they had a TV they were happy to share.  So why is there all this angst now?   Or is there?  Let me move on to the expression, “Is the glass half empty or half full?”  With respect to the title of William A. Galston’s OpEd "Behind the Middle-Class Funk" (Wall Street Journal, Opinion, August 7, 2013), I would argue that if a typical middle-class family was placed under a microscope, one would get two answers to the fullness of the glass.  They probably would be emotional answers, not statistical, as in “I feel it’s half empty” or “I feel it’s half full”.  In the “Fifties” half-emptyness were fear of the U.S.S.R. or “the bomb”, half-full was having a house, car, television, food on the table, and the wife at home to take care of the kids.  Today I’d argue that we’re afraid of terrorists (about as likely as the bomb back then) and enjoy (“half-fullness”) iPads, smart phones, and the Internet’s social media offerings.  Is their really a great “funk”? 


How many middle-class couples really even understand what “median income” is, or where they stand in comparison?  I offer that, after the prosperity of the Reagan years, the then-self-titled “liberals” needed to convince us that things weren’t as good as we felt they were.  Liberals served up statistics showing how miserable we should be, in order to win votes against the Republicans.  The mass media piled on and Whoever controls the media, controls the mind,” Jim Morrison late of the Doors might have said.  The now-Progressives (neĆ©  liberals) have apparently convinced most of the country that we’re in an absolute unfair mess and they are needed to fix it.  Republicans have accepted the mantra of the Progressives that our country needs a major change and don’t offer much in return.  And they have been losing, and will continue to until they can re-frame the message from funk to “Look what we have, look how business offers you jobs, look at the innovation for the future.”  That they haven’t and don’t seem to get it puts me in a funk.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

“What Happens When a Man Takes on the Feds”

“What Happens When a Man Takes on the Feds”

 This is a very disturbing article (“What Happens When a Man Takes on the Feds”, Opinion, August 31 – September 1, 2013) but not surprising.  It reinforces the danger of an all-powerful government which, as in this case, can lead to the arbitrary and oppressive human behavior of regulators.  People sometimes forget that regulators have the same emotions as the rest of us and can act on them, as seems apparent in this case.  The regulators diminish the value of the product while “Two and a half million adults spent $30 on a product”.  Seems that might be an indication of value to consumers.  Why not the regulators?  But Mr. Zucker is wrong when he says, “It’s not the government’s place to say what has value and what doesn’t…”  That is exactly what the government does.  It believes that its elite regulators are highly intelligent while the “free” American consumer is ignorant and needs saving from itself.  We have elected our politicians who are causing this disconnect to happen.  To my way of thinking, the Internet easily, cheaply and smartly could replace many regulators and all of the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  The U. S. government could sponsor an Angie’s List kind of site where we consumers can post product reviews and we consumers can see the experience of others before committing our dollars.  The site could distill reviews to make them easily understandable to everyone.  Lousy or dangerous products would fail in the marketplace, desirable products of value would succeed in the marketplace.  How easy is that?  If we – as our Founding Fathers did – believe in We The People to democratically elect politicians, why not to democratically elect products?


Laura Bice

2201 Third Avenue

Seattle  WA  98121

(206) 902-7207


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Small Man who is Afraid to Make a Decision is the President of the United States

President Obama makes "Slick Willie" look clumsy.  His foot in the mouth, careless "red line" remark was confronted by Bashie Assad and all of a sudden Obama's ego and credibility were at stake.  He had thoughtlessly painted himself by himself into a corner.  He had to make a decision to make him appear strong, and President Obama never wants to make any decisions whatsoever.  So he said he would strike terror into the heart of Assad with a "shot over his bow"; then he got scared and said he needed to talk to (get permission or cover from) Congress after saying he didn't have to under the Constitution.  That delay would buy him a week or two of not having to make a decision.  Luckily, Congress began moving toward his goal: not having to make a decision "to strike", which of course could be criticized by those who matter to him: Jay-Z, Bouncy, Snoopy Dogg and George Clooney.  But then again he might have to make some decision if Congress would say no.  ENTER, Vlad.  Pee-You-Tin jumped on Kerry's throwaway, thoughtless remark.  Suddenly it became a serious proposal.  By Putin.  Assad would promise to do stuff with his chemicals and not to do what he hadn't done, anymore.  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the draft resolution would establish "consequences" for the regime if it fails to comply with the proposed program. He didn't specifically name the consequences, saying "all options remain on the table."  The French official said Paris considered Chapter 7 a "nonnegotiable" part of the draft resolution.  Sounds like Obama threatening a shaking Iran.  But the most important part is OBAMA DOESN'T HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION.  And he can take full credit for Assad "backing down".  In truth, Putin saved Obama's reputation and more importantly, his ego.  Now Obama will be strutting his powerfulness.  Benign Bashie Assad will continue to slaughter his people.  And Obama will owe KGB Putin BIG TIME.  Will America unilaterally destroy all our nuclear weapons?  Will Obama give Russia money?  Oil?  Will our new immigration policy only allow poor Russians on welfare, and spies in?  It will be something dangerous to America.  Stay posted (and I hope I'm wrong.)  None of this has to do with what's good for America, or really America at all.  This is all about three, perhaps four, men's egos: Obama, Putin, Assad and who ever might be in charge of Iran, perhaps, Kerry, too, if Obama left him one.  Speaks mightily for having a woman president, but not Killary Klinton!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Too Late?

If it weren't so dire, our president's antics would be funny.  But playing "reset" with Comrade Putin,  sending paper airplanes to Bashie Assad, and cowering from Iran are all actions that have seriously diminished American Power and substituted laughter for fear of it.

Leaving two years of slaughter alone until it seems to be a good idea to stand to his throw-away line of a "red line" only confuses everyone.  Saddam Hussein killed at least tens of thousands with outlawed chemical weapons and the president, as senator, reviled the President Bush for invading and capturing that monster.  And before the last election President-Running-for-Reelection whispered to Comrade Putin something like "Hey good buddy, wait until I get reelected and then we can romp over the world together".  The Comrade liked the romp and not so much the "together".

Then, the neo-warrier Obama in order to pretend for history that he was a strong president, says he'll fire a shot over Assad's bow.  But, Mr. Assad, we won't attempt to unseat you, since you're really a beloved president of Syria.  Ditch your chemicals, planes and weapons first, then duck in your basement hide.  "That'll teach him," says Mr. Obama, "He won't dare use those weapons again."
What planet are these now-war-hawk Progressives on?  Moonbeam? 

Luckily, we in the United States might have a real choice next election, a loooong three years in the future.  A rational, conservative Republican could regain the respect of the world by showing some backbone and decision-making.  Another inexperienced Progressive ditherer, such as Killary Clinton, will be the end of American hegemony.  Islam terror will come here in full force.  New York as Kabul or Bagdad.

Yes, choice.

Please, Media, be critical and independent of the religion of ProgressiveObama.  Leave fantasy to the sci-fi books.

Please.  Maybe it won't be too late.  Maybe.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


President Barack Obama has spent a couple weeks arguing and trying to convince America and the world that he -- Obama the Warrior -- didn't need anybody, especially Congress, to give him -- Obama -- permission to put a hurt on President Assad of Syria for using chemical weapons -- gas -- to kill more of his people, woman and kids.  But first, Obama said, understand that no American soldiers will be at risk, and that his -- Obama's -- objective is NOT to get rid of Assad, the so-called regime change, nor to hurt any of his live civilians.  Just what his objectives are, are unclear.  But a year ago he drew a RED LINE against Bashar A. using gas.  Step over that line, B. Assad and your Ass is grassed.  And now that you -- Assad -- have killed with gas 1500 or so of your people I -- Obama -- am serious.  Apparently gassing to death is more pernicious than simply shooting to death.  But, again, now I -- Obama -- am serious.


I -- Obama -- will act decisively AFTER we -- Congress and I -- get back from vacation after September 9th.  And after I -- Obama the Warrior -- get permission and I hope those nasty Republicans will give it to me.  Because I am Obama the Warrior.

No, this is not a joke.  If Obama ever makes up his warrior mind, which is doubtful, because he is afraid of being criticized by those important to him -- Hollywood actors, hip hop rappers and the like -- and they don't like war, then if he does shoot off a few non-lethal, non-regime-changing Cruise missiles, WILL Vlad Putin give Iran some big weapon to lop onto Israel?  If it does, will Obama THEN make up his mind since America'll be contractually obligated to respond on Israel's side?  And if we do, will Russia come in?  And where is the Peoples' Republic.  Its leaders are getting tougher as its economy is getting weaker.  Will Putin and the Chinese, Iranian and Islamists act rationally according to the American definition of "rational"?

Complicated and dangerous with an intellectually lazy, spontaneously acting, somewhat internationally ignorant, and unrealworldly president in charge.  The world knows he is unsteady, unreliable, weak and lacking inward self-confidence. 


Not Much Chance for Cutting Red Tape for Businesses

  • The Wall Street Journal

  • August 30, 2013, 3:40 p.m. ET

Not Much Chance for Cutting Red Tape for Businesses

The central command of all business by government is a core goal of the progressives, so cutting red tape for business is unlikely to happen soon.


Regarding Thomas Stemberg's "A New Law to Liberate American Business" (op-ed, Aug. 22): In describing the success of base closings, Mr. Stemberg forgets that the base closings helped to cut military spending, one of the core goals of progressives. This was a main reason for the success of the base closings. It was the polar opposite to reining in the crippling rules and regulations on business. The central command of all business by government is also one of the core goals of the progressives. Since progressives control the presidency and the Senate, this rational, obvious release of business back onto free enterprise cannot happen. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will in all likelihood never even move this proposed new law into committee. I just don't believe progressives want to hold back "job-killing regulations" or any regulations at all.

A better plan for Mr. Stemberg would be to publicize the huge benefits of business to employment and the creation of prosperity. I believe most of the electorate doesn't understand this. They are propagandized to believe "profits" are evil and that business leaders are greedy and corrupt. Until that changes, nothing will happen. Finally, the greatest effort needs to be in simply winning elections. A Republican or tea-party conservative president might stand a chance of passing some common-sense laws. Until that happens, if it ever does again, the noble effort of Sens. Angus King and Roy Blunt will be an exercise in futility.

Theodore M. Wight



Here is the original article about which I wrote:

  • August 21, 2013, 7:06 p.m. ET

Thomas Stemberg: A New Law to Liberate American Businesses

If Congress could close military bases, it can reduce job-killing regulations.


Nearly 30 years ago, I started a company called Staples Inc. SPLS -1.00%that went on to do pretty well. Launching a business like Staples in 2013 would be a much harder proposition, with success by no means certain. There are so many government impediments to business today that the next Staples—and its 50,000 jobs—might never get off the ground.

Chief among those roadblocks: the blizzard of bureaucratic red tape that buries businesses and stifles job creation. These include the additional 16 million hours that vending-machine and chain-restaurant business owners must spend complying with new food regulations each year. But there is also the license that magicians require to do a rabbit disappearing act, which mandates an annual fee, surprise inspections and a rabbit disaster plan. All told, American business faces 46,758 pages of rules to live by in the Federal Register.

This confounding web of federal regulations may be curtailed if Sens. Angus King (independent, Maine) and Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) have anything to say about it. Their Regulatory Improvement Act of 2013 could be a game changer.

The legislation introduced in late July would create a bipartisan Regulatory Improvement Commission, charged with recommending cuts in the regulatory regime, and the law would require Congress to vote on the proposals. This is desperately needed. The government has few processes at its disposal through which it can re-evaluate the efficacy of outdated regulations—and many members of Congress lack the expertise, time and courage to effectively scale them back.

The King-Blunt concept is tested and has already worked remarkably well. The Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission, an independent, bipartisan commission of experts, was established in the late 1980s to reduce the number of military bases. Politics made it nearly impossible for Congress to do the job, as it was too easy for politicians to cut deals and protect each other's pork. Instead, the commission selected the bases and reported its findings to Congress for mandatory, up-or-down, nonamendable votes.

It worked. Since 1988, there have been 121 major base closures, 79 major base realignments (which may close down part of a facility or transfer personnel away from it) and 1,000 minor closures and realignments under BRAC.

In short, the BRAC Commission gave politicians what they crave most: cover. Nobody back home could blame them for losing a military base. The King-Blunt proposal will give representatives the same cover with regulations.

The bipartisan Regulatory Improvement Commission—with members appointed by the president and congressional leaders—would tackle one area of regulation at a time. Its members would be charged with finding regulations that are duplicative, like the 642 million hours employees will spend complying with redundant regulations this year, according to the American Action network.

The panel also will try to identify obsolete regulations, maybe resembling the arcane rules the Federal Communications Commission leverages to achieve whatever regulatory aims the commissioners desire.

Finally, the King-Blunt commission will look for excessive regulation, perhaps scaling back the 1,659 pages of "simplified" mortgage disclosure and servicing rules the president's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued in July.

The public—people on all sides of an issue—would advise the commission in an open comment period while it considered which regulations to put on the chopping block. The resulting list of targeted regulations would then be reported to Congress, to be eliminated or curbed.

Here's the best part: Both chambers of Congress would be required to vote on the recommendations within a month. Lawmakers could review, but not change, the report. There would be no deal making, no tricky amendments and no ducking of tough decisions. Lawmakers would be asked a simple question and could only give the simple answer: yes or no.

Job creators know that regulatory relief can't come soon enough. In 2010, the Small Business Administration pegged the annual cost of complying with regulations at $1.75 trillion. The SBA report covered 2008 and the burden has certainly grown since. A May 2013 report by the Heritage Foundation, "Red Tape Rising," found that new regulatory costs added in 2012 totaled $23.5 billion.

That's a staggering amount of money to pay for government rules. In 2008, the GDP of the entire state of California produced slightly more than $1.75 trillion. At this rate, the current regulatory regime just kills more jobs and stifles the formation of new small businesses—the lifeblood of job creation in our economy.

In 1986, we founded Staples in large part because of what used to be an enormously productive American financial system. The system that fueled entrepreneurship 25 years ago is now being regulated to death under the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, which requires as many as 398 new regulations. The next Staples, and its 50,000 jobs, may not happen because of this burden.

If the president and Congress are serious about creating jobs, they must take seriously the job-killing regulations that are holding job creators back. The King-Blunt proposal can get the job done—and jump-start the lagging economy in the process.

Mr. Stemberg, founder and former CEO of Staples Inc., is managing general partner of the Highland Consumer Fund and a member of the Job Creators Alliance.