Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

Comment of the Day
The Editorial Board should have no opinion

Jul 11, 2020

The WSJ Editorial Board expressed its opinion about the case of Michael Flynn. It does not matter what they said; in my book, the Editorial Board should have no opinion on any topic. Editorial boards’ job is not to lecture, but to facilitate views from individuals who can present valid arguments. The Editorial Board's job at the WSJ is to guarantee to me, a subscriber, that the different opinions presented are fact-checked. I pay a subscription for the WSJ because I do not have the time nor the means to fact-check whatever is written and posted on the internet. I do not pay for the subscription to be brainwashed by whatever the self-anointed authority of the Editorial Board believes is right. I can make my judgment based on the facts and their interpretation by other individuals.

More parenting is needed
Aug 01, 2019
Peter Gray in Psychology Today advises for less parenting. The problem is exactly the opposite: There is not enough parenting. In the past, when most of our ancestors lived in self-supporting households, often a farm, out of necessity, children were an integral part of whatever adults needed to do during their daily life, and they learned that way. Now, we do not need to do as much at home. Work is outside the home, food is brought in, heat is turned on and off, and mysteriously magical, colorful screens are the center of most activities. If we leave children free to explore what they find the most attractive, they will play video games. There might be some educational value in it, but one needs to learn much more. Hence, we need more effort in parenting, with parents doing more in the home than is otherwise required, and spending more time with children outside in order to introduce them to the real world. This realization hit home after I witnessed the surprise of a 7-year old seeing apples on my apple tree.
Less fight more work
Jul 30, 2017

The fight over Obamacare repeal is over, at least for now. The GOP can start to work on a new proposal that each of us can look at it, and then compare how my particular health care solution would play in it, as compared to Obamacare. In a television interview, HHS Secretary Tom Price said that Obamacare “may be working for Washington, it may be working for insurance companies, but it’s not working for patients.” Maybe it is time to consider patients’ involvement in the preparation of an Obamacare alternative? It could be that Obamacare repeal failed just because it has been prepared by Washington with consultation from insurance companies. Let us start with addressing 19 health care issues that politicians avoid talking about.

How to pay for the wall?
Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

More Comments

Can Musk save Twitter?

That is unlikely, but give it to Musk — he is unpredictable and has the means. In his many statements, he insists he wants to turn Twitter into a respectful debating forum about essential matters. If he really believes it is doable, he still does not realize that Twitter’s format is for influencers like the Kardashians, Trump, or Musk to message their followers. It is not suitable for a naïve kid to tell Musk what everybody else can see, that the emperor has no clothes; Twitter, as it is, cannot conduct any constructive debates.

Trying to make sense of the turbulent Musk’s remarks, we might infer that when buying Twitter, he did not know that or expected he would figure it out somehow. Now he faces the blues.

Can Musk’s engineer’s mind help?

The interview with Ron Baron gives us a peak into how Musk worked on simplifying the design of Tesla. He has a shot with Twitter if he takes the same engineering approach. In this aspect, there might be a good reason for the massive layoffs in the first days of Musk’s reign. Liquidating immense unessential operations allows for checking how the platform could function without them. Further, what is critical in every restructuring task, it eases the cash flow. A few weeks later, Twitter still functions. It means that there was a method in Musk’s madness.

It is not about Twitter at all

Musk declares to make Twitter a sincere debating forum. Behind that claim is a silent assumption that we do not have a platform like that already because no one has tried. Nothing could be more wrong. In the United States, we do not have a forum for open political debates because none of the powers in the media and politics wants it. They all benefit from the ongoing standstill.

Every media outlet is related to some ideological orientation and does not present opposing views to the public. It is the same in major periodicals, radio and TV stations, as well as social media outlets like Medium or Twitter. For decades we have had unresolved issues like immigration and health care because, in the times of the best communication technology, we are unable to interact.

One can encounter many opinions in the media, but there are no places where they confront each other. Often, the most relevant facts and reasoning do not make it to the mainstream media. Again, immigration and health care are the best examples. Behind that media gridlock, there are interests of the most prominent American businesses. Tesla is one of them.

Musk has a personal stake in not fixing Twitter

Musk’s challenges are not business-related or technological. Real or assumed freedom of speech restrictions on Twitter before he bought it are not his biggest problem. He is facing the forces that make American politics dysfunctional. Even worse, he will need to decide between the freedom of speech and his wealth.

Behind every problem that America faces today are disputes about the government’s role. It is the case with the most igniting disagreements about immigration, health care, or climate change. But let us look at the government’s sponsoring of new technologies, like electric cars.

At times when America was great the first time around, Ford’s Model T was a terrific success without any government support. Musk cannot say that about Tesla. Electric cars are the future, but we should adopt them when the technology makes them affordable compared to those powered by combustion engines.

The success of Tesla and Musk’s wealth partially came from the government’s monetary incentives. On one side, it would be foolish not to get support from the government when available. On the opposite side, the government’s help for selected businesses to fulfill political objectives is a betrayal of the most fundamental American principle of the freedom of enterprise. If Musk wants authentic debates, he has to agree to a discussion of this issue.

What is the poll worth?

As it commonly is with radical changes, most observers saw the chaos in Musk’s decisions, some demanding his resignation as the CEO. So he opened a poll asking if he should resign. A majority of 57.5% votes were for Musk to resign. He quickly responded that he would resign “as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” The exclamation mark allows us to speculate that Musk might regret buying Twitter. He is wrong in presuming that only a foolish person would take his job. It is literally the contrary; Twitter needs a CEO with a vision.

Musk could easily reject the poll. Marketers know that dissatisfied customers are much more likely to speak up about their discontents. We can sensibly assume that Musk’s critics voted in greater proportion than those wanting to give him more time to try. By accepting the poll results, though conditionally, Musk indicated that he has been thinking about backing off.

Ignore the experts

Tweeting a lot did not make Musk a media expert. He needs to find professionals to help him evade beginner’s mistakes. Among thousands of tweets advising Musk on selecting a new CEO, I spotted one urging Musk to “focus on seasoned media execs.” I replied that he should not because, thanks to their “expertise,” no one trusts the media in the United States. Musk should forget everything the media gurus have been saying if he wants to succeed. If they were right, the United States would be in better shape.

Every media outlet promotes ideas crucial to them, but no one searches for the truth. The so-called media experts are wrong in claiming that there is no money in telling the truth. They would never express that so openly. They would talk about meeting customers expectation, what boils down to reciting to people what they already know and think, often erroneously.

The public is craving the truth. The money is in tenacity and integrity in delivering the truth. Musk must seek individuals with ideas to make money by bringing the truth to users. He must figure out how to make money by telling people they are wrong.

Should Twitter buy Medium?

It is physically impossible to discuss an issue in a 280-character tweet. There is no better way of demonstrating the case than in an essay. Videos or podcasts are inefficient, although today’s public might prefer them. Glancing at a lengthy article allows for a quick assessment of its value. It is hard to do that with videos or podcasts. Also, a written text, especially with links, allows an easy return to statements that are intriguing or require checking. Those are elements needed for constructive conversations.

Twitter is good for quick remarks or ripostes. They should refer to persuasive writing such as an essay to make them valuable. Responding to a suggestion of buying Substack, Musk tweeted, “I’m open to the idea.” Medium would be a much better choice. Thanks to its open format, it has much more potential. Substack seems to be a splinter of the mainstream media, with all its ideological ballast.

Then, there is the hardest part

Most difficult of all is in figuring out how to make people pay for telling them they are wrong.

The first step is to resolve a technological challenge, how to create an efficient debating algorithm where truth and logic flow to the top, regardless of who is talking. The media gurus would tell us that it is impossible, and the chaos on all the existing debating forums proves that. I have some ideas on how to do it, and as such, I had many opportunities to learn that we do not have functioning debating forums, not because it cannot be done, but because no one wants it. Musk has the position and the resources; he needs the will. Then, he will find a way to do it.

A fair debating algorithm will encourage people to prove their views by contradicting their opponents. It will be easier to accept the defeat if people believe that there is no bias in treating their arguments. As no one is always right or wrong, in some instances, participants would win and, in others, lose. But if neutrality is maintained, trust in the debating algorithm will build, attracting more people and money.

All the problems America experiences today result from the misinformation of Americans about the economy and politics. With the current collusion between the media and politics, we have a gridlock where politicians and media leaders are interested in keeping it like it is.

Americans lost trust in what the media tell them, so they tend to stick to what they know. But they feel that something is fishy. They might not realize how much they wish someone would help them sort things out. They do not want to feel dumb. This is an ample opportunity for Musk to get back his $44 billion with a profit.  

But as old folks used to say, the simple things are often the most difficult to do.

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About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became a freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I have lived in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in the service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of the politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions, I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

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