Blind Trust

The folks that were disappointed with the results of last November’s election keep agitating for the President to put his companies in a blind trust. I submit that that this is 1) totally unnecessary and 2) that it is better that he does not.

For full disclosure, I do not think much of the current POTUS. My opinion is that he is a bully, a bigot, and a boor. But he is what he is and what he is is his BRAND.

Brand was once a big deal. Old-time brands like General Electric, Bell System, RCA, Ford, Buick, and many more stood for something. You heard or read the brand and you expected a certain quality, reliability, working-life, price-value, design characteristic that you could rely on and purchase dependably. Sometime in the 1970’s or 1980’s, the marketeers got hold of “brand” and began to abuse it. They applied it to products outside the traditional envelope of the companies. They applied it to imports and domesitically produced products of inferior quality. “Brand” became the thing instead of the qualities that the brand stood for and made the brand desirable. It seems that lately, Apple and Nordstrom are the only two brands I can name that that really stand for something consistent over the years. Brand has been devalued.

Meanwhile, back at the White House, a former TV actor is playing the part of a former real-estate businessman who has been elected President of the United States. Before he was elected, said businessman made most of his money not from real-estate transactions but from branding. Attaching his name to things, not real-estate wheeling-dealing. That is why you will never see his US Income Tax returns.

If (when?) he makes a mess of the USA brand, his name will be indelibly attached to the mess. If his name is trash, so is his fortune, blind trust or no blind trust.

He has made a number of good appointments and at least one bad one so far. If those ladies and gentlemen can keep him from running the ship onto the rocks, he (and we) will come out fine. If not we will all suffer.

Looking for a Presidential Candidate with a Heart

I have been following the campaign with interest and wondering where the candidates that have a heart are.
Bernie Sanders comes closest. He has a heart, as long as it is with someone else’s money.
If you are going to find Hillary Clinton’s heart, there will need to be an increase in funding for microscopy research.
And a Republican with a heart seems to be an oxymoron.


Terrorists are in the news as is their wont. This has prompted a dither over what to do.

We need to keep doing what we have been doing and do it better. Since 9/11, our freedom continues to be eroded. This is just what the terrorists want.

My recommendation is that we continue to allow the NSA to monitor phone connections. And allow the encryption of phone content. A backdoor for the government is a backdoor for everyone as the government has demonstrated its lack of ability in keeping secrets.

We should continue the debate as to whether the NSA should share the data it collects with the FBI and others. I lean to “no sharing” of data without a court order. The NSA should be free to share findings of specific threats with other agencies.

Running for President

I have been watching with interest the Presidential race. Biden has other things to worry about and Senator Sanders has decided that he is not going to be critical of Mrs. Clinton. Or maybe he is starting today. We will see.

Mr. Trump seems to be leading, after a fashion, the pack of Republicans. And that is a complete description of that party’s current state. Dr. Carson is popular but seems remote.

As for my own presidential campaign, some things I think are needed to fix the schools.
1. Leave colleges alone. There are plenty of sources of information in the market for people to make the choice of which college to attend, whether it provides good value, etc. We need to decrease the taxpayer participation in paying for college and encourage private funding through true scholarships. Work hard and show you can do the work, get tuition reduction, books, etc.
2. Improve language instruction. All high school graduates should be able to read, write, and converse in (at least) two languages. Any two.
3. All young people in the middle school time frame should get some training in basic hand tools, wood and metal working, electrical fundamentals, auto fundamentals, clothing construction, fabric selection, sewing, and especially cooking a healthy meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner using a microwave, conventional oven, and stovetop.
4. Young people should get instruction in household operations including budgeting, maintenance, bill paying, and retirement planning.
5. The items in 4 should become part of the curriculum for the mathematics and language training. The items in 3 should be reinforced through the study of science, history and social studies coursework.

That would be the focus of my common core.

Creaky Platform

Given that the President proposes and the Congress disposes…

Proposed Presidential Platform Planks

Department of Homeland Security – rename and re-purpose

Change the name – Wet Blanket comes to mind
Department of State Security is already used (SS is right out)
Perhaps a popular contest with a big prize would yield something that works for the public and has less of a National Socialist flavor.

FBI – ok

No airport personnel (or train or bus stations for that matter)
New purpose – communicate important information/training/skills to local enforcement and transportation providers.
Airlines/Train lines/Bus lines are responsible for safe passage (or not).


Everybody works. Show me a selfie of you fixing a broken window, picking up trash, helping a neighbor, calling voters/protesters, doing what you can, etc. Here’s your check. Each day, each week. Paid monthly.


No more corporate taxes. Companies pay fees for services required/provided. Individuals pay taxes. Companies collect taxes and pass them through to the government.
Simplify taxes. One rate. One basis
If you receive it, it is income
Example – You are a CEO – your company decides that for the company’s protection you will fly in the corporate jet wherever you go.
The difference in cost between “regular airfare” and cost-of-corporate-jet is part of your income. You pay taxes on it. Or you can hire the pilot and pay his salary and deduct his/her W2 from yours (see below). (Don’t forget the SS etc.) But not the cost of the airplane.
Your company provides you with a car – cost is income to you regardless unless you can prove you NEVER use for any personal activity. Period.
Your company provides you with a meal as a convenience to them – cost is income to you. Period.
If you pay it to someone else as wage or a contribution to an approved organization you can deduct it.
Make sure you do a W2 on the former and document the latter.
Other than income and outgo, taxes are much simpler.
Other than the above, there are no deductions. You get it – income. You pay some body else – expense.

Individual businesses, partnerships, etc
Careful separation of personal ownership, asset distribution, gain/loss on purchase/sale will be required.

Your home is an investment. Gain or loss – yes, pay or deduct.
Your investments – Gain or loss – pay taxes when realized or when recognized or as accrued. Your choice. Annual documentation required.

Minimum wage

A company/organization/individual offers and pays any wage any time, subject to change with 6 pay periods notice.
If a company or individual has provided employment, premiums to an unemployment insurance fund are due.


Any benefit paid to any employee is due to all employees, proportional to full-time hours however that is defined for the company.
This must be the “store open” hours or “available hours” if the employee is subject to flexible scheduling within some range even if the employee is not on the clock and actually being paid for work.

Health care

Folks who decline required vaccinations for their children decline compensation for all related health problems for themselves and their children. Children who elect to reverse (stand in front of a judge) their parents decision will be compensated going forward from the moment of rescission. For parents, the decision is irrevocable.

Foreign workers

Companies utilizing foreign technical workers must show that they have
1) Created and cannot fill a training program for U.S. candidates.
2) Ensure that each foreign worker, in addition to whatever technical work they do, mentor a replacement U.S. worker.
3) “Need them now” is not an excuse. Company poor planning should not come at taxpayer or workforce expense.

Tax Scam Alert

Someplace on your tax form, there is a check box allowing you to designate $3 to the Presidential campaign fund. Several government untruths here.
1. They are not “your” taxes. Taxes, by definition and numerous legal decisions, are already the governments.
2. Since they are not yours, they are also “mine” and “everybody else’s”.
3. The checkbox accompanying explanatory text says that it does not increase your taxes. This is strictly NOT true. It increases your taxes by $3/(divided-by)all-of-the-rest-of-the-taxes-wasted-by-the-overpaid-Senators-and-congressfolk. Admittedly a small number. But because you checked the box, I paid the same amount.

3. These funds will go to Presidential candidates. Yes, sort of.
Let me explain, wait a moment?

Can anyone explain why the stats at the FEC only are up to date as of 2013?

Where is YOUR money (if you were stupid enough to check the box). More important, where is MY money.

Running on empty, running wild…

Let it be official. I shook hands with a constituent and said “I’m Chris Calvin and I am running for President”. Full disclosure, before this evening, my only politically related handshake was at the Riverside Station of the Boston MBTA Green line where I shook hands with Scott Harshbarger. Had I been able to avoid it, I would have and, in retrospect, I wish that I had.
The constituent commented that I had an honest handshake (implying “You are wasting your time”) and suggested that a “joy buzzer” might assist my campaign.
Open to consideration of all contributions, I replied “I need to be ‘always on’, solar powered with battery storage needs investigation. Thank you for the suggestion.” Wind-up is reliable but we need to be looking at productivity and cost reduction. Maybe we can put treadmills on the borders. If you run fast enough, you are in. If you are not in yet, you just are trying but not hard enough, “Thanks for the Energy”

Too Big To Fail?

Cleaning out my traveling bag, I found a clipping from Redmond Magazine, the Independent Voice of the Microsoft Community. The Editor, Jeffrey Schwartz comments in the November issue on large companies breaking up. This reminds me of a song that goes through my head from time to time (i.e. a couple of times per week). If you are an older person and have never heard it, I hope that you have saved heavily in non-debt, non-equity investments. A change is coming. If you are a younger person, keep going. You will prevail.
The fact of the matter is that too big to fail is too damn big. The anti-trust laws and the regulators are supposed to prevent this from happening. This is just additional evidence that the present and recent administrations are incompetent and, perhaps, corrupt.
But I digress. While Mr. Schartz’s astute editorial mentions HP, Symantec, and and Microsoft, IBM, and many large banks are also in this category. Please stand by. Adjust your set if you think it will help.

Airline Service

A comment and link near the end of Relist Watch on at SCOTUS blog reminded me of a time when I passed the candy “tray” to an airliner full of strangers.
My mother had been been born and grown up on the west coast of Florida. As my grandparents aged, she would vist them. The train would have taken too long so she flew. On one occasion, she took my older brother and me. It was a late night flight, leaving from Cleveland after supper and going to Tampa with a stop in Charlotte. The equipment was probably a DC-6 although I know that I also flew that trip on a Constellation. My mom was a good mom. She knew that small boys needed something to play with and something to read so we had books and a small case full of small toys, think “Matchbox” or “Hot Wheels” although I suspect they were way older since there were Zephyr style locomotives and airplanes from the 1930’s and cars and trucks to match.
Airliners were not pressurized then as today. Or if they were, the control was not as refined as many passengers suffered ear discomfort as the plane descended for landing. To help, the airline typically distributed chewing gum or hard candy as the airplane was about to begin descent for approach.
At that time, most airline cabin attendants were men. Then as now, they were there for safety (first) and secondarily, the comfort of the passengers. But the stewards must have been impressed with well-behaved boys about 5 or 6. They let my older brother and I pass out little rolls of 4 peppermint LifeSavers in silver foil and Navy blue paper wrappers, directly from the boxes they were packed in.
Yes it is true. You should never serve food (or eat food) directly from the package that it comes in. But if someone serves you, accept the service graciously. That is what my mom taught me.