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
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.

PREVIOUS COMMENTS
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. 

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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.”    

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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.

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Freedom cannot be legislated, its restriction can
Mar 31, 2015

Indiana voted in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In his WSJ piece, Gov. Mike Pence claims it was needed to protect the religious freedoms of Hoosiers. Every legislative act by its nature limits someone’s freedom. The only way of increasing freedom is by identifying existing laws that curb personal liberties and then eliminating them.  Hence, if Gov. Pence sees that under some circumstances, the religious freedoms of Hoosiers are not respected, he could correct the situation by eliminating laws causing this problem. We have the Bill of Rights, and it suffices. No “enhancements” are needed.

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Greed-driven health care
Feb 27, 2015

The solution to our health care crisis is in the implementation of more market-driven mechanisms into our health care policy. This is the only way to give patients the freedom to make decisions regarding their care between them and their doctors; not having these decisions made by faceless bureaucrats. The biggest obstacle in implementing a change of this kind is in a deep public conviction that the introduction of the free market into health care will result in doctors, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and everybody else involved being guided by their greed, not the best interests of sick people. The biggest challenge in overturning Obamacare is not in Washington. It is in winning the argument with Americans that free-market-driven health care can serve their needs much better than the government-distributed one.

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Immigration inaction
Feb 17, 2015

Congress could not agree on the immigration reform. President Obama resorted to executive orders. Now he is stopped by a court order. It is sad to see that this legal wrangling substitutes for real discussion on why we have this immigration crisis and what we should do to get it resolved. Most Americans have strong, ideologically motivated views about immigration. If they were right, the policies implemented would work, and we would not have a problem anymore. We have an ongoing problem because most Americans are wrong in their understanding of what caused massive illegal immigration and what we should do to get it corrected. There will be no progress until someone  addresses this problem. For more about why we have this immigration mess go here.  

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Stone Age politics in the health care reform debate

Fans of the TV serial House, will notice that every time Dr. House diagnoses a problem he scrawls on a white board. In scientific terms, he creates a decision table.

When approaching any decision, we try to estimate the chances of reaching certain intended outcomes. Then we weigh them against our abilities and the costs of achieving them. In parallel, we try to estimate the costs and risks of unintended consequences. Even a simple decision, with a few variables, can quickly become a complex problem. Just by putting possible options and potential outcomes in writing, and – practically – drafting a basic decision table, we make it easier to comprehend. Wikipedia says it best: “decision tables are a precise yet compact way to model complicated logic.”

Barely anyone questions the need for health care reform; however, reaching a consensus on how to do it seems unobtainable. The debate turned into name-calling and shoving one’s agenda, focusing not on merit but on the loudness of the crowds at town hall meetings. Obviously, it is impractical to draw decision tables when writing an essay, when commenting on the internet, or when sending an email. However, one might expect that each voice would bring some arguments for or against the proposed reform, hence addressing one or more aspects of the decision table that every one of us drafts in our imagination.

At least this is what I thought in my naiveté. In reality, very few incurable optimists like me do it. My email address is on the mass mailing list at Organizing for America; therefore, every few days I receive an email related to health care reform. Some are signed by President Obama, some by his staffers. None of these emails has ever addressed any merit of the proposed reform. They are full of lofty talk about historical mission, about mean opponents spreading lies, and about the need for action. None of these emails explains how the proposed reform would resolve any of our problems. They did not provide me with any information intended to fill up my decision table. Nothing in their emails even indicated that they ever made any decision table when drafting their health care reform proposal.

Most vocal opponents of the health care reform proposal are not any better. It is about name-calling, it is about “death panels”, and it is about socialism. Decision tables are nowhere to be seen. In the country proud to be founded on reason, the major debate of our times is guided by feelings and emotions. In a country claiming world’s leadership in science, the scientific approach is absent in the most important debate about our future.

Talking about health care almost with everybody I can, I encountered someone working at Rockwell Automation. They claim that their Arena simulation software could be used for simulations of possible scenarios of different variants of the health care reform, as it is already widely used by the health care industry. I do not feel competent to verify this claim, but even if it is untrue, I bet that there are experts and simulation software out there that could do it.

Computers have been in commercial use for over half of a century. Among other things, they can easily compute, much faster than we could, the possible consequences of our decisions. Let me ask everybody: why do we not have simulations of the different options of the health care reform run back and forth in the public view, so we all could better comprehend what we are getting into? Why were not simulations run before the current health reform proposal was presented for approval? Why did not the opponents of this reform run these simulations? Why did not they arrive with simulations of alternative health reform proposals? If, in my business, I was faced with a decision of putting $1.3 trillion of my money at stake, I would allocate some time and money to run simulations giving me some insight into the possible risks and benefits of different options. Oops, as a taxpayer, is it not my money? Is it not my country? Is it not my right to see the results of these simulations, before giving my OK to any health care proposal?

When I read speculation about how the Gang of Six might affect the fate of heath care reform, I had to pinch myself to verify the world I live in. It is a world where society makes pivotal political decisions based on arms wrenching in the narrow circle of powerful. It is a world where mobs are called to action and brought to the public square to shout whatever they were told to yell. It is a world where a decision table is an invention thousands of years away from being discovered. It is a world without universities. It is a world where most people cannot conduct even a basic logical deduction. It is a world where Microsoft and Google are galactic distances away. It is a world where fears, prejudices, and other emotions dominate over reason. This is a Stone Age society in action. In this way, Americans decide the future of the health care in this country.

A version of this text was published by Huffington Post

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 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 live in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in 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 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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