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Everything posted by Dismuke

  1. Free Trade with Countries that Deny Rights

    This is one of those instances where I think valid arguments can be made on both sides. One could argue that, by refusing to trade with the more backward, undeveloped countries of the world, we are doing the people in those countries a huge disservice. Along with trade comes increased contact with the rest of the world. This, in turn, provides the people in backward countries with exposure to the ideas and mindsets which are a precondition to any chance they might have of eventually casting off their rulers and building a free country. A good example of this is Red China where, despite its still authoritarian regime, the people enjoy a much greater degree of freedom than they did when the country was isolated and not forced to compete in a world wide marketplace. In one of his TIA Daily emails Robert Tracinski recently proclaimed Communism as "ideologically dead" in China and said that it has been replaced by something closer to "corrupt South American style fascism." He suggested that such changes have left the Communist Party without any ideological justification for their continued monopoly on political power and that, eventually, something has to give. If the result is that China eventually becomes a free or even semi-free country, than our engagement with it through trade will have been a very wonderful thing both for the Chinese people as well as for ourselves. My big concern, however, is that modern China is starting to remind me of another, non-South American fascist regime: Imperial Japan of the 1930s. The Chinese rulers have been for years using the country's new found prosperity to finance an arms build up. What if, in the face of the increasing demands for more freedom which are inevitably going to arise as the Chinese population becomes more worldly and prosperous, the Chinese rulers decide that they do NOT want to meet the same fate as their Soviet counterparts and decide to provoke a war in order to divert attention on the premise that they would rather take a chance and die in glory and in power than remain alive but out of power? If that were to happen, exactly who would have made this new military threat possible in the first place? All we have to do to find that answer is look in the mirror. Without Western investment and Western prosperity, China would still be nothing more than a backward, famine ridden pest hole. So in addition to the issue of wanting to take a moral stand on behalf of people who are oppressed by foreign despots, another valid reason for being reluctant to trade with such countries is that a good portion of the resulting wealth will eventually end up in the hands of the ruling thugs who may then go shopping for such fun and fashionable toys as chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Personally, what I would like to see eventually happen is for the thoroughly evil United Nations to be completely abolished and replaced by a brand new international organization named the Civilized Nations in which membership would be offered ONLY to free (and, in the short run, semi-free) countries that meet certain standards in terms of recognizing and protecting individual rights, including property rights. The very name "Civilized Nations" would alone send a powerful moral statement to the oppressed inhabitants of the rest of the world. Basically, the organization would function, in part, as a giant free trade zone where red tape and barriers to trade, migration and flow of capital would be minimized to only the rational essentials (such as inspections for communicable diseases, etc). It would also function as a loose sort of military alliance against aggression by non-member countries (i.e., the UNcivilized nations) and to quickly nip any emerging military and/or terroristic threats in the bud. Most non-member counties would probably be allowed to trade with member countries - but they would not be able to take advantage of the benefits of the free trade zone and would probably have a very difficult time being able to obtain credit on good terms or attracting much in the way of foreign investment. Such an organization would put a profound moral, economic and political pressure on the more backward parts of the world to actually become civilized.
  2. Favorite Music?

    The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra is excellent. For those who enjoy ragtime, a great place to hear it is Elite Syncopations, an Internet radio station run by a couple of college students at the College of William and Mary in Virginia that is devoted exclusively to ragtime. For more information see: http://www.ragtimeradio.org/ I encourage those who are not familiar with ragtime to check the station out as well - you might find that it is a very different and refreshing alternative to the kind of stuff that people listen to today.
  3. Clash of cultures

    Rather than debating the nature or historical accuracy of such actions, let's just assume for the sake of discussion that we can agree that the European and American settlers engaged in certain actions which we would properly regard as nasty and inappropriate. That having been granted - it is CRUCIAL that the issue be placed in its proper context and not regarded in isolation without regard to wider issues or concerns. One has to consider the context in which these inappropriate actions are constantly being brought up, who it is that is bringing them up and for what purpose. In other words, what is the broader POINT that the people who are constantly reminding us of them trying to make? In this case, it is the multi-culturalists who are the ones who are constantly bringing up such actions and they do it in the context of trying to damn America and argue that it needs to be taken down a notch in this world and that our actions need to take into consideration the feelings of counties such as France, Germany, China and various dictatorships throughout the Third World. When one considers the nature of those counties both today and in the past - well, the damnation of certain actions in American history suddenly becomes rather absurd by comparison. The purpose of the multi-culturalists in bringing such things up is to so convince people in an out-of-context manner that America is a rotten, nasty country - and, therefore, if they don't go along with the multi-culturalists' agenda, then they too are rotten and nasty. It is really no different than how the Communists used to try to make hay out of the alleged exploitation of child labor and factory workers. The Left used to pull out of their history books (which were usually written by fellow Leftists) examples of factories in the early days of the Industrial Revolution where conditions were pretty horrible, where workers, including children, worked long hours and where the owners were nasty and abusive and then assert that if you don't go along with the Leftists' agenda, you are no better than those nasty abusive factory owners. Did such factories exist? Undoubtedly some did. Does the existence of such factories constitute a refutation of capitalism? Of course not. Does the existence of such factories provide a single shred of existence to justify enslaving entire societies under the brutal tyranny of Communism? Of course not. Does the fact that the early American settlers were not saints in all respects refute the enormous and unprecedented achievements in terms of individual rights, human dignity and standard of living that have been made possible by the United States of America? Of course not. Does the fact that the early American settlers were not saints make the case that we should turn our foreign policy over to the French or the United Nations and regard ourselves as being no better than the Soviets, the Nazis, the Cambodians or some primitives running around in a jungle somewhere? Of course not - but that is exactly the point that those who are constantly harping on about the treatment of the Indians are trying to imply. There is absolutely nothing wrong with studying and taking into consideration historical issues such as the treatment of the Indians by the early American settlers - but when one does so, one must NEVER forget the overall framework and context that motivates one to study them in the first place. As Objectivists are fond of saying, context is everything.
  4. Clash of cultures

    The board will not let me edit my posting so I will post this as a clarification of my potentially confusing wording. The Indian land that should have been regarded as private property was the land that was granted to the Indians as a result of such treaties - not the entire American continent prior to the negotiation of such treaties. To elaborate on a few other points: The European settlers had every right in the world to stake a claim in the wilderness and engage in the sort of activities necessary to given them a moral claim to regard it has their own personal, private property. But, as human beings, the Indians had the exact same rights to do so as well - and that is what should properly have been offered to them as a means of settling land disputes. And while tribes are not an objectively valid form of social organization, there would have been nothing particularly wrong with recognizing such negotiated property rights as resting with the tribe and not the individual Indians. There are all sorts of examples where private property is owned by a group and not by individuals - i.e. corporations, churches, clubs, etc. How the Indians made use of their private property, once granted, would have been up to them so long as they did not initiate violence on others. If they wished to continue to roam in the woods eating bark, bugs and small animals - so be it. My guess is that after a few generations of exposure to Western lifestyles, technology and consumer goods, most Indians would have lost interest in roaming around living a "natural" type existence. My guess is that, as civilization expanded across the American continent and Indian land became increasingly more valuable as real estate, there would have ended up being a whole bunch of very wealthy Indians. Unfortunately, I don't think that what I propose would have been conceivable or possible at the time. The initial European settlers in North America would probably had a HUGE amount of difficulty accepting the notion that ALL human beings have the same rights and that they should make it possible for a bunch of unwashed non-Christians of a different race to legally exercise and have recognized such rights as the ownership of private property. Look at it this way - even if the Indians had been advanced enough to have a system of private property, it is rather doubtful that the Spaniards or even, later on, the early English, would have recognized it. They would have simply conquered them the same way that they went about conquering European nations which were militiarily weaker. I am afraid that "might makes right" was still very much the European way of doing things at the time - and that is the approach that they would have brought over with them to America. Of course, for the multi-culturalists to damn the Europeans for that is absurd because such "might makes right" was certainly no different than how the Indians dealt with each other. The multi-culturalists have no problems whatsoever with societies that operate on the premise of "might makes right" - they only object to it in the case of those societies that later rejected that premise.
  5. Clash of cultures

    If his questions rest on certain false premises (as I think some of them do) then the proper approach is to identify those premises and explain why they are false. Another proper approach is to do exactly what you have been doing - challenging those premises through questions. But what is NOT proper is to sneer at the person and snidely remark that you cannot understand why they would even ask such a question in the first place - which is exactly what the other poster did and what I took him to task for. Furthermore, the fact that a person's questions rest on false premises do not necessarily disqualify them from being honest questions. Nor do they necessarily disqualify them from being intelligent questions.
  6. Clash of cultures

    By the standards of what I just laid out - not, they were not fully justified and moral in many areas. But we are dealing with history and, quite frankly, those standards are based on a lot of premises that would be pretty hard to expect the first American settlers to go by. The way I think it is best to answer the question is to point out that the settlement of the American continent was certainly not the first time that the expansion of civilization has come up against and overtaken a bunch of tribal nomads. For example, the spread of Roman civilization across Europe. How come today's multi-culturalists do not damn the ancient Romans for destroying the "noble" and "natural" lifestyles of European savages? What about territorial disputes between tribes which were more savage and brutal than anything the Europeans dished out? How come the multi-culturalists have a problem with the Europeans evicting Indians from land by force - but they don't seem to have a problem with other Indian tribes doing it? How come one historical example - the behavior of European settlers in America - is loudly damned by the multi-culturalists who, at the same time, are totally silent on other very similar historical examples? The answer of course, is that the multi-culturalists really don't care squat about the Indians or their well-being. Their only concern is to destroy Western Civilization - and that is the context in which such people's criticism of the American settlers must be viewed. In other words, the American settlers were sometimes far from saints - but in the context in which they are attacked by the multiculturalists, that fact is utterly irrelevant. And the sorts of behavior the multi-culturalists sanction and turn a blind eye to is far worse than any injustice that the American settlers may have ever been guilty of.
  7. Clash of cultures

    I am not for sure Vladimir has sided with the Indians. As far as I can tell, he is asking honest questions in order to get people to present an alternative view to that which is normally taught in our schools today. And if Vladimir indeed has sided with the Indians, I can think of several reasons why he might have done so - including making a judgement based on what he was taught in school history classes. Regardless - the fact of the matter is the response given does not answer any of his questions and I doubt that the reply given is sufficient to cause him to no longer have those questions.
  8. Gmail

    Lord Poppycock - Thanks so much! I was even able to get dismukeATgmail.com That's great! I was kind of afraid that one of those people out there who use "Dismuke" as a polynominal surname might have already come along and taken it - which would, of course, have been just one more instance of a polynominal oppressor edging out poor, persecuted mononominals such as myself who only have but one name! But I was able to get it right off the bat - despite the fact that we live in a culture filled with namist, monophobic polynominal bigotry. Hmmmmm. Gee - now I kind of know how poor Jesse Jackson must feel every time he sees Condaleeza Rice on TV! Then I am afraid that you probably would need to stay away from email and the Internet altogether. If you have an email account with your ISP - well, my guess is the employees there probably have easier access to it then do google employees in light of the recent attention that has been focused on gmail. The bottom line is that it is probably a good idea to assume that whatever you write in an email is NOT especially secure. Once you click the "send" button, you no longer have control over what ultimately happens to that message. Forget the ISP and gmail employees - how secure is the recipient's computer? Who else besides that person currently has access to it and who else might have access to it years in the future? How secure is the person's house against a break in? I know a few people who still refuse to make online purchases on grounds that they don't "feel safe" giving out their credit card numbers over the Internet. I always give such people a funny look and ask: "Do you eat at restaurants?" Of course, they do. And they don't think twice about physically giving their credit card to a total stranger who takes it into some back room for a couple of minutes and does who knows what with the information printed on the card while they process the bill. Considering the fact that orders entered into the website of a large on-line retailer usually feed directly into a fully computerized order processing system, in most cases ZERO real live human beings will ever see the credit card number unless there is some sort of problem with the card or the order which would require someone to actually access the account. As for the ads in gmail - well, obviously there has to be some sort of advertising if it is going to be given away as a free service. What I like about their ads is that they are the same as the text only ads that you see in google search results - which I find to be far less obnoxious than banner ads, splash ads and such. Plus the fact that they are targeted by key words might mean that I for once will see ads for products and services that I might actually have an interest in. I actually use Google's ad service to advertise my Internet radio station. If you enter in certain keywords in a google search, or if there is a certain product description on sites like amazon.com that closely matches those keywords, you will most likely see a small ad for my station. I have been very pleased with the results I have had from them and I only pay based on how many people click on the ad rather than how many times the ad is displayed. A few moments ago, I sent a test message from my existing account to my new gmail account and packed that message full of those key words. Sure enough, when I opened the message in gmail, I saw on the right side of the window my ad for Radio Dismuke. So, as a google advertiser, I think it is kind of exciting that I will have yet venue in which to get my message out in a very cost effective and highly targeted manner. Opportunities like that are hard to find when you are trying to advertise on a very, very small budget.
  9. Gmail

    Ooooppps. That was intended as a reply to Lord Poppycock. Instead, I hit the wrong reply button and ended up replying to Stephen.
  10. Gmail

    My address is dismukeATdismuke.org Gee - Thanks!
  11. Gmail

    Gmail is a beta test of Google's free web based email account. The account is free - but, at this point, it is by invitation only. Lord Poppy: I, for one, would very much like to have one.
  12. forging the Union & compromise with slavery

    Gee - it has been so long since I studied all of that in any depth that my memory has grown fuzzy. When I was in college I studied a lot of the writings of the Founders, both as a course requirement and because I found them to be such fascinating individuals. I do very much recall one of the Founders writing at pretty decent length about how democracy ultimately degenerates into despotism. One possibility that you might want to check out is the fascinating John Adams - Thomas Jefferson correspondence that the two gentleman had about a wide variety of subjects after they both left public office until their deaths. (Both died on the same day, by the way, which just so happened to be July 4, 1826, a half century to the day that the Declaration of Independence was signed - a very remarkable coincidence of history. Adams' last words were "Jefferson lives" - but, in fact, Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier.)
  13. Moral Dilemma #1

    The difference is that one statement was meant to refer to the state of affairs before the item was given while the other was meant to refer to the state of affairs after it was given.
  14. Moral Dilemma #1

    I am afraid that I don't know how to be more clear than I have already been. Other people's property belongs to them, not me. I do not have any inherent right to property which does not belong to me and cannot claim any right to demand that other people transfer the ownership of their property over to me. But once somebody does transfer ownership of a piece of property over to me, it now belongs to me and I now have a right to it. In the above "and I now have a right to it" refers to a legal property right. That is not necessarily the same as saying that the situation is morally right. Moral rights and legal rights are not always the same thing. There are all sorts of actions which are profoundly immoral but which are very much within my rights to engage in.
  15. Moral Dilemma #1

    Incorrect. Assuming that a person is not insane or underage, all that is required is the action. Whether or not that action is "purposeful" is something that no other human being necessarily has any way of knowing nor has any control over. YOU are responsible for your actions and for what you do with your property. You cannot demand that people read your mind in order to spare you from the consequences of your errors and/or irresponsibility. Go back to my example of the $100 tip.
  16. Moral Dilemma #1

    Well, I am afraid that is a rather broad question to answer in a posting. So my short answer is this: the Objectivist ethics and lots of context.
  17. forging the Union & compromise with slavery

    I am not sure that the Founding Fathers ever really gave much explicit thought to the issue of "individualism" as such. Obviously, individualism is very much implicit in a lot of their views and in their advocacy of individual rights - for example, the Declaration of Independence. But did any of them - or enough of them - ever reach the point philosophically where they explicitly understood that individualism was, on an ethical level, at the root of their political views? I can't say that I have studied the issue closely enough to say for sure - but I have always been under the impression that was one of their philosophical limitations. Now, the Founding Fathers did talk a lot about seeking to expand the cultural influence of reason and enlightenment - and I know that Thomas Jefferson, for one, saw a limited, representative government as something which could nurture and bring that about. So, in that sense, I would say that it would be a safe assumption that among the motives they had when setting up the government was to nurture certain beneficial cultural influences that they thought would result from its establishment. But I think they had many, many reasons besides just the abolition of slavery for wanting those cultural influences to spread. A good analogy here would be Ayn Rand. Perhaps someday, as a result of Ayn Rand's influence, Social Security and public education will be abolished and all retirement programs and all levels of our education system will be left to the free market. But if that ever happens, it wouldn't be accurate to say the motive of Ayn Rand's writings was to abolish Social Security and public education and that Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal was part of any specific strategy to end them.
  18. Moral Dilemma #1

    But the issue here has nothing to do with property rights. The owner of the property, in this case the cable company, gave you access to that property - and, therefore, your acceptance of what they proactively gave you cannot violate their property rights. The issue under discussion here is this: is it moral to accept unearned values that others unintentionally give you?
  19. forging the Union & compromise with slavery

    I don't see how I suggested any such thing. In fact, I said quite the opposite. My point was that the anti-slavery Founders recognized that there was little they could do to abolish slavery at that time and acted accordingly - and that they merely hoped that, in time, public opinion would become more enlightened, thereby making it possible for whatever abolitionist reformers who might come along in the future to have an impact. I certainly did not suggest that the Founders had any particular belief or operated on the premise that their actions would have certain causal consequences which would eventually abolish slavery. Indeed, I clearly stated that they had no way of looking across generations and making any specific predictions on how the issue would eventually be resolved. So I must confess that I am a bit confused by your posting.
  20. Moral Dilemma #1

    If I was subjected to a bureaucratic hassle because I was merely trying to help some company fix their mistake, I would conclude that such a company deserves to lose money and perhaps even to go out of business. That is not how a company should treat a customer. Furthermore, I would refuse to continue doing business with such an outfit and would either switch to satellite or simply do without television altogether. If that is the kind of treatment I am accorded for trying to them a favor, what on earth would I be subjected to if their incompetence someday results in an error at my expense and not theirs? As to the notion that the cable company is "bearing the burden" - well, in this particular example, that is not really the case. The cable company's costs in this situation are fixed - it does not cost the cable company one penny more in out of pocket expenses for me to have access to the channels than for me to not have access to them. The only expense for the cable company is the labor and administrative costs of having someone throw whatever on/off switch that controls channel access. Assuming that I would never be interested in buying access to those channels, it would actually cost them more to terminate my access than it would to keep it in place. The only cost to the cable company is the potential loss of revenue that they might earn if I valued the channels enough and had the extra money to pay for them. So, if I found myself in such a situation and valued the channels enough to pay the $40 per month, I would feel obligated to let them know and offer to start paying the money they are morally entitled to. But I sure as heck would not spend a lot of time trying to make them take my money. And if I did not value the channels, I don't think there would be any moral issue involved whatsoever. For example, I almost never watch television and have zero interest in paying money for access to channels. The only reason I even own a television set beyond the tiny portable my parents gave me way back in high school is because I occasionally enjoy watching films on DVD or VHS. But my house does have cable television wires that were installed for the previous owners. For all I know, those wires may have been hooked up and live ever since I moved here - and I couldn't care less one way or another. I sure as heck am not going to spend one minute's worth of my life trying to figure out how to hook them up to my TV to see so that I could notify the cable company that they forgot to turn the previous occupants' cable off when they moved out.
  21. Moral Dilemma #1

    You would have won - and it is doubtful they would have even attempted to fight it. Nobody can legally charge you for something that you did not request. When I was a kid, I had a brief interest in stamp collecting and ended up getting on several mailing lists. One day, out of the blue, I got a package in the mail from a company which sold stamps on approval. How approval services work is each month, or however often, the company mails its customers a whole bunch of stamps. The customer has so many days to look at the stamps and to send back the stamps he is not interested in along with a check for the ones he decides to keep. The package I received in the mail contained several wax paper envelopes of very beautiful stamps along with a form letter obviously aimed at kids from someone called "The Captain" containing instructions for sending them back - and I was supposed to pay the postage on it. I was kind of upset by the whole thing because, as a kid, I didn't want to spend what very little money I had on postage to mail back a bunch of stamps that I never asked for. When I complained to my mother, she told me that I could keep the stamps because one has no legal obligation to pay for unsolicited packages and, besides, I was too young to enter into legally binding contracts. So I kept the stamps. For couple of months I kept getting letters from "The Captain" which were increasingly nasty and threatening - and that was kind of intimidating for a little kid. But my mother, who I recall was quite angry about my getting the letters, kept telling me that the company was a scam and that I could keep the stamps - and to this day, I still have them. As for the unsolicited newspapers, considering some of the recent scandals involving circulation figures, I think that my first suspicion if that were to happen to me would be that the newspaper was trying to fraudulently pad its paid circulation numbers.
  22. Bush's Social Security

    I don't consider the issue of such premises or sanctions to be at all involved here. The existing system is already based on collectivist premises and is totally government controlled. To support the very first, tiny baby steps in a better direction does not constitute any sort of concession or unwarranted sanction whatsoever. Now, if you happen to be a political philosopher or an economist who understands the issues involved and you ignore that knowledge and write a book or essay about how quasi-private government controlled plans are the ideal, end-all solution to the problem because you think it will enhance your professional prestige or will sell more copies of your book - then, yes, that would constitute a profoundly immoral concession and sanction of the very worst sort. Why? Because speaking the truth about such matters and taking a principled, uncompromising stand is a course of action that is open to you. But it is NOT reasonable to expect a well-meaning politician, even one who is very familiar with and sympathetic to Objectivist ideas, to put forward highly principled and consistent proposals that totally ignore current political realities and which are doomed to failure. As a rational person, one must look at reality, including political reality, and act accordingly. Recognizing the limitations imposed on one by the reality of one's context and acting accordingly does NOT necessarily make a person unprincipled.
  23. Bush's Social Security

    But the reality of the situation is that Ponzi scheme must remain in place for some while to come and, to some degree, it must be propped up. Even if one were to make the case that it would be perfectly proper (and I don't think it is) to end the program immediately and tell current and future recipients over the next 20 years or so: "Well, too bad, you are on your own. You should have been more responsible and better prepared instead of planning your retirement around being able to loot the productivity of younger workers," that certainly would have zero chances of being politically viable. I am afraid that the only way to fulfill the promises that the were made to those retirees is to find some way of keeping the Ponzi scheme going in some form or another for a few more decades and eventually phase it out. As to the Democrats wishing to raise payroll taxes - well, those clowns look at anything that moves and breathes as a potential opportunity to loot the productive. Bush has been very clear in saying that the one thing that is NOT on the table with regard to the reforms is raising payroll taxes. I realize that it is part of the Bush family genetic code to sometimes "go wobbly," as Margaret Thatcher so aptly put it - but in this case, until there is evidence to the contrary, I think we should take President Bush at his word on this.
  24. forging the Union & compromise with slavery

    I don't think "retreat" is the best way to describe what the anti-slavery Founders did. A modern politician sympathetic to Objectivism who has no choice but to sit at the table and hash out legislation with the likes of Ted Kennedy, John McCain and Trent Lott and who recognizes his limitations in the context of today's political climate is not, by virtue of this fact, retreating from his principles. Since there is nothing he can do to change the political climate overnight, his only option is to try and do the best he can with what he has in the context of that climate. I think the anti-slavery Founders were in the exact same position when it came to the issue of slavery. I think the closest thing that they had to a "strategy" was to recognize that the abolition of slavery would have to be dealt with by future generations and to merely hope that eventually the spread of reason and enlightenment would someday break the back of slavery. They certainly would have had no way of knowing how many generations it would take or of predicting the Civil War. In the grand scheme of things, it really did not take all that long for slavery to eventually be abolished. A child born the same year that the Constitution was ratified could very easily have been alive and in his seventies at the time the Civil War ended. Considering how thoroughly entrenched the institution of slavery was in the 1790s, that it was ended within a single human lifespan is pretty remarkable - though, of course, that's not such a short period of time if you happened to be that child born the same year the Constitution was ratified and you were black and living in Georgia.
  25. Moral Dilemma #1

    I later learned something that made me wonder if the whole thing was a set-up. About the time this happened, it was nearing television "sweeps" month. As a gimmick to attract viewers, one of the local television news departments came up with a feature called "The Channel Five Honesty Test" which set up situations designed to see how honest people are when they think nobody is watching. Of course, somebody was watching: a hidden camera. A few weeks after I had the experience at the bank, someone I had mentioned it to told me about watching the Honesty Test on the previous night's news - and one of the things the TV station did was leave various amounts of money laying around in places where it would have been easy to return it to its rightful owner. The station kept tabs on how honest people tended to be depending on how much money was involved. I understand that the reporters actually confronted some of the people who had been caught on camera being dishonest - though they didn't show their faces on TV. Imagine how humiliating that would have been - sort of like the time that a former Democratic Speaker of the House got caught stuffing his pockets with complementary airline snack foods! I have no way of knowing if that was what was going on at the bank with the money. But one of the things in retrospect that made me think that it might have been was how the teller responded when I sent the pneumatic tube back. He did not seem at all surprised by it and merely stated in a matter of fact manner: "I know what happened. We will give the money back. Thank you." I would have expected the teller to have been as surprised by it as I was.