230. One USA Party Spews Misleading Phrases.

5 May

Certain words and phrases are repeated over and over again, by politicians. Many of these are false and/or misleading. Here are some typical examples of false assertions.

FALSE: Democrats want to raise taxes.
CORRECT: they want to raise taxes, ONLY for rich people and corporations.

False: Socialism is bad for the country.
Correct: Socialism affects the very wealthy, but is great for the poor. (I don’t feel bad for someone with 20 billion who must be satisfied with 18 bil.)

False: Democrats promote socialism.
Correct: They promote capitalism with some limitations to protect the non-rich.

False: Most poor folks receiving government help are lazy.
Correct. Most poor folks really want decent jobs. There are many valid causes for poverty, such as disabilities, flood and fire disasters, identity theft, poor health, failed investments, etc. A young person could commit a crime, have a record, and find it employment difficult.

False: Massive gov financial support for the wealthy, will “trickle down.
Correct: History shows that money given to the wealthy doesn’t trickle, but mostly has other uses, such as bonuses.

False: Those who attacked our capitol on Jan. 6 were NOT Trump supporters.
Correct: The attackers came from a nearby Trump rally and had Trump flags, hats, and other apparel.

False: Wealthy persons and corporations pay taxes at the established rates.
Correct: Through biased legislation and clever accounting, many of the extremely rich pay little or no taxes at all.

False: “America first” is the best policy.
Correct: While support for our people is most important, our global role also is important. “America first” in practice means rich US people first.

False: “Make America Great Again” makes sense.
Correct: Clearly at times in our past: markets were steadily rising, we were not fighting wars, we were viewed as an example of good gov, and other nations respected us and relied on our support. Our allies, then, made us stronger.

False: The vast majority of news organizations produce “fake news.”
Correct: Except for minor mistakes, major news organizations produce valid news. It is Trump that regularly lies.

False: Our election system produces false results (when Repubs are not elected).
Correct: Every USA State certified our last election. Trump clearly lost in the electoral college and in a significant popular vote. The lies undermine our democracy. Voting “reform” is actually voting suppression.

229. Poor Management Threatens Human Survival

29 Apr

The irony of our times is that good management of critical processes could have solved all of the worlds problems, and provided happiness for everyone, yes, every person on Earth. Here is a list of problems, presented briefly, that could have been solved with good management and using existing knowledge.

Climate-change. Much of this science was developed decades ago, but like children, few were willing to make changes with long-term benefits. There are numerous discussions of potemtial and current climate disasters.

Poverty. There are enough resources on Earth to provide food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment for everyone. We have poverty because national leaders become greedy in office, and hoard resources.

Covid-19. President Obama had a group working on pandemic solutions, which was abolished by the next president. Inexperience and lack of knowledge led to millions of deaths, worldwide. And suffering may continue for many more months or even years. Ultimately, we need science to provide a broader protection from many disease variations.

Expansionism. Leaders of several major countries have goals of expansion, the conquering of other nations by military force. In current times, we must add cyber and political agression. Weaker nations are vulnerable.

Beliefs. I have no problem with people who wish to practice religions. Much in this area is beneficial. But, unfortunately, differences in religion sometimes leads to major violence and many deaths in wars. Also, the beliefs of Qanon, Proud Boys, Neo-Nazis, KKK, and others are bizarre and dangerous.

Science. A part of every population does not trust science, in general, and ignores beneficial processes. Science can help with food production, medical advances, technical advances, and many of the problems listed in this blog. Genetically altered foods have proven to be safe and beneficial.

Voting. It is sad that many of those who could benefit most from good government, often are fooled into voting for leaders that will not help them.

Endless wars. The US and several other nations have tried to correct the governments of other countries. While these efforts are often done with good intensions, good results are often lacking, and sometimes matters are made much worse. A study of history could have helped.

Rich donors. Extremely rich people in a country often have a major influence on tmportant decisions. These decisions often benefit them, but are dangerous for the rest of the population.

Democracies. Most of us would never have predicted that the USA could move
towards a dictatorship. Yet, in 2020 we were very close to this. Traditionally, the US has provided a great example of good government. Poor management of the election process almost resulted in a permanent disaster.

Food resources. Proper management of the oceans is important for keeping them as a source for food. Management of land useage for food is also important. Ultimately, good sources of protein may be more effectively provided by industrial processes.

Summary. Our current world, which is crowded with human populations, must now be carefully managed to avoid extensive human suffering and deaths. Much of tradition is no longer effective in solving problems. We must think clearly and objectively in finding the best solutions. Most of the topics above, are extensevely covered in my blogs, and many other writers have good ideas that must be explored. Our serious world problems can be solved.

228. Finding Truth in 2021

25 Apr

Now, more than ever, the determination of truth, is of primary importance. The Democrats and Republicans have remarkably different interpretations, and who is perceived as right, will have a major impact on all future US elections. I have written many times on the topic of truth, and it is of persisting importance.

First, absolute truth in many areas is not currently attainable. At best, we can say that certain ideas are more likely true than others. When a fact is most likely true, it is often reasonable to act on it. Even if it is ultimately proven wrong, we can look back and say we did our best at that time. And there is an old saying: don’t ignore the good, for a desire to be perfect (my version).

A general procedure for all types of truth, is to start by looking at major traditional sources of information, such as widely read newspapers. And to be extra cautious, examine them for inconsistencies and obvious confusion of facts. Unreliable sources tend to frequently vary in the “facts” they present. They often make promises that are unlikely to be kept. They often present ideas for which there is no clear source — generalizations without any data.

In science, ultimately “consensus” (general agreement) brings us closer to truth than other methods. Consensus means that most reputable experts in an area agree with each other. Articles in established, peer-reviewed journals are more likely true than other sources. “Peer-reviewed” means that other competent scientists in the same field have evaluated the report. In many areas of science we see a variety of opinion, gradually changing and the formation of a significant “consensus.”

A good example of consensus is the area of climate-change. For many years, I have followed this important topic. The history goes way back into the 19th century. For example, Joseph Fourier, in 1824 proposed the basic premises of atmospheric transmission. Light from the sun passes easily through the atmosphere, it warms the ground, and heat waves are generated. But the heat is limited in transmission, so our air serves as a kind of blanket, holding in the heat. There was little consensus for the early thought, but decade after decade, more evidence was gathered and the number of supporting scientists gradually increased. For at least the last 15 years, there has been a strong consensus for all aspects of climate-change and dangerous global warming. Government reports, scientific journals, established newspapers, and many foreign leaders, all support this idea.

The concept of scientific consensus, is applicable to many aspects of our lives, including covid-19 procedures, clean energy, food resources, and many types of pollution and contamination.

I suggest that people, in general, must focus on the following considerations. The nature of the world is best understood by science. Many political and religious leaders mean well and have valid ideas, but do not have a devotion to hard evidence and clearly supported facts. Many leaders will tell comforting stories, but relying on stories can interfere with the more productive, rational solving of problems. For those needing comfort, more effective is: talking to a good listener and exploring relaxation methods.

Science does not generally deal with all aspects of life, but the methods of science do have broad application. I emphasize science, but also think that kindness to others is of great value. I want to live in a world where understanding and empathy are valued over greed and domination. And this applies to all humans.

227. Fears Affect Police Actions

18 Apr
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Fear is a powerful emotion that can affect behavior. The police often deal with violent criminals and as a consequence, their fears can reach a high level and officers can be unjustly harsh. Understanding this, is not an endorsement. But understanding can lead to: better training, better applicant selection, and better procedures. Like most other people, I am angry with bad policing, but my anger does not help. What helps is acknowledgement and new rules. Also very important is really good support for responsible and professional policing. Let’s honor the many that serve well.

. LEARNING TO CONTROL FEAR IS VITAL

There are many recent contentious police actions, maybe due to the effects of covid-19 restrictions. Perhaps the most important fear is that of being attacked during an arrest. Such fears can easily lead to excessive and/or prolonged force. When a vehicle is stopped and an officer is preparing to engage, he must first deal with anger and fear. It is important to develop an interaction procedure that is unassuming, polite, and constructive. The first goal, is to carefully open a dialog dealing with the reasons for the stop. For example, in a recent case, a car was stopped for a missing license plate. A polite dialog could have revealed that this new car had a temporary plate in the back window (not all that visible with window tinting).

A second fear is that their peers will think they are weak. Once an officer gives a command, he/she must have complete compliance or they will lose the respect of other officers and the suspects. Also involved are rigidity and pride. There are times when backing down would be better for all involved, but this rarely happens. For example, if the person has a PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or mild psychosis, a specific command could trigger high anxiety or hysteria. At this point, some discussion or alternate procedures could bring about a better outcome. I have not read police manuals on this, but I suspect that there is a lot of emphasis on exactly conforming to rules. Many rules should be rigid, others should have some situational flexibility. I fully recognize the difficulty of reaching a proper balance.

Here is another thought about the dilemma of police-motorist interactions. Clearly, if every motorist were treated politely and with kindness, there would be great improvements. But the problem is that a small but significant number of motorists could be dangerous criminals. So the police must give up some kindness for their safety. And, I would agree that the interactions between a white policeman and a black motorist can be worsened by racism. Perhaps what is needed is the development, for everyone, of polite police methods that also involve sufficient safety.

Let’s look at the case of the Army lieutenant stopped for not having a license plate. The policemen took out their guns and harshly demanded that he get out of the car. A better alternative would have been to politely ask him to put his hands on the steering wheel, while the policeman approached the car for an initial dialog. A quick discussion would have clarified the situation. Maybe policemen assume that they are safer if they scare the suspect?

The most difficult decision that an officer must make is when to fire at a suspect. Often it is made in less than a second and is entirely based on current emotions, courage, past training, and experience — no time for thinking. Consider the case of 13 y.o. Adam Toledo. According to many accounts, Adam had a gun, was chased down a dark alley, threw the gun away, raised his empty hands, and then was shot dead by the officer. The instinctive shot was based very much on emotion and the effects of emotion on vision. In a very fearful and excited state you might see dangers that do not exist. How someone reacts in this situation may be mostly determined by his general emotional control, and “courage” — traits that our movie heroes always have, but are rare in actual people. Maybe after certain testing, there should be more limitations on who can carry lethal weapons, and where they are used.

Conclusion. It is fair to say that: it is easy to make suggestions, but actual changes can be almost impossible. For example, finding police applicants that have the right temperament, character, and intelligence may be problematic. I guess we can at least try to make the best rules, and hope that they are followed. The development of better, non-lethal weapons would also be of benefit, as well as exploring the best way to diminish fears.

226. Astonishing Aspects of our Current World

29 Mar

I was born in the US more than 80 years ago, and have observed the governing of this country for most of these years. Almost everything described below, I would never have predicted.

The President of the US (DT) in Fall of 2018 re Kim Jong-Un: “We fell in love” (well established in recorded speeches, and by all news outlets). Recently Kim of N. Korea began missile testing again — an astonishing defeat.

US Southern border paradox: it is great to treat immigrants kindly (and I support this) but the effect is a massive increase in this immigration. After decades of this border problem, it is astonishing that the US government cannot agree on a solution.

The dangers of climate-change (aka Global Warming) have been known for decades and yet it is likely the humans of this planet will suffer immensely from this. Even a child (Greta Thurnberg) understands this. World leaders generally agree, but it is astonishing that they still are not sufficiently alarmed to devote major actions to its solution. (Reminder: increased floods, droughts, fires, hurricanes.)

I could never imagine that the United States would some day come close to an autocracy. In past blogs, I have described, in detail, all of the evidence for this. Briefly, it is astonishing that many parts of our government have been undermined by DT, including the DOJ, FBI, and the US judicial system. DT has supported world autocrats over our US Intelligence agencies. DT rejects NATO and admires leaders of Russia, N. Korea, and Turkey. His ugly final attempt at absolute power was the vicious Jan. 6 attack on our Capitol, organized and directed by him.

It is astonishing that the US has allowed a pandemic to kill 549,000 of our citizens, when former President Obama had an official group devoted to this very problem. DT disbanded that group and ignored its findings.

Here is something astonishing, but positive. There are incredible aerial drone movies of scenic areas that are extremely enjoyable, especially for virus shut-ins, who cannot travel. Here is one example:

I have to add another astonishing fact, not in the US, but in Nigeria. About 300 school girls were kidnapped in one raid, by local militia. How can this happen in the modern world?

225. Thoughtless Human Nature May Cause Our Extinction.

22 Mar

Here are the critical areas:

Covid-19 and other similar viruses. These may be a never ending problem, because so many people throughout the world are not wearing masks, distancing, isolating, etc. Young people, older people, poorly educated people and others, simply are not following the rules and most go unpunished. It is human nature. Even our past president had huge rallies with unprotected people packed together, promoting numerous new infections. There is a powerful tendency for people to do what was always, previously acceptable.

It is possible that improved vaccines will ultimately keep us safe, but there will always be a large percentage of the population that will not accept them. Because the viruses evolve, it may never be possible to completely stop them. However, there are current efforts to rebuild an excellent CDC and WHO, and new support for science, which will help.

Climate change problems of increased floods, droughts, fires, and hurricanes are serious threats to our survival and are already killing thousands of people. Much of the resulting disaster is mass migrations, which will gradually increase as weather patterns change that affect food production. Our leaders and the people must all strive to replace the use of fossil fuels with green sources of electricity. It is the nature of the rich business owners to ignore these current and future problems because action will involve unwanted extra expense. It is usually profitable to keep doing things in the same way even if they are indirectly destructive.

People will hesitate to buy electric vehicles, lower home energy use, and to use solar panels. It is human nature to keep life simple and not made improvements when there is no incentive.

Massive migrations have already been mentioned, but deserve additional discussion. I see migrations from Syria and other unstable countries as responsible for much of the world’s problems, probably including BREXIT and some past US government policies. Generally it is the human nature of less-educated people to be fearful of immigrants; and the previous US admin promoted these fears.

It is a human nature to elect our leaders based on their speeches and emotions, rather than on the basis of intelligence and relevant experience. People that appear powerful, good looking, and likable are often elected. Traits necessary for election are not necessarily the ones best for governing.

Ignoring science is the nature of many people, because it is often more complicated. Many want all government problems to be simplified and solved by simple solutions, that they can understand. But it is often the “simple” solutions that create new problems.

Destructive human nature includes excesses in the areas of greed, racism, and revenge. These factors can lead to many kinds of destabilization and distraction from the real problems described above.

224. Why Do Many Doctors Ignore Vitamin C ?

20 Mar

EARLY RESEARCH WITH VIT. C WAS DONE WITH LOW DOSES
These early studies and other factors (see below) established a TRADITION of ignoring this vitamin. However, this research done many years ago did find small beneficial effects.

It is well known that most medical doctors ignore vitamins in helping people with disease. For example, if you listen to current medical scientists discussing covid-19, you see this is usually true. The most we get in this area is hints that immune system health is a factor in determining who will get infected by the virus.

In several of my BasicCauses.com blogs (209, 208, etc) I document scientific evidence (from Pubmed research and top clinic publications) indicating that Vitamin C and other supplements improve the immune system and have a definite effect on disease. Many years ago, double Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling wrote a book (1976) on this subject, including the timing and large dosage of Vitamin C. My personal use of vitamin C and research on this subject began at that time.

To be most effective, a large dose of vit. C (e.g. 4 grams) at the VERY FIRST SIGN of “cold” symptoms, should be taken. High dosage should be continued, every couple of hours, if needed. There is no rigorous research study using this exact method, so it is only “likely”, but not proven. However, indirect and anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. I would add one more consideration. It may be that this method is substantially effective, only if there is a continuing healthy diet with vitamin supplements.

WHY IS THIS EVIDENCE AND VITAMIN PROCEDURE IGNORED.
Here are some of the factors. Maybe most important, is that a very healthy diet is expensive, and taking vitamin supplements is even more expensive. Many Americans can’t afford the expense, and many live in areas where more healthy foods are difficult to obtain.

There is a medical tradition, based on low dosages and ignored timing factors, that vitamin supplements have only minor if any effect on disease. It is also argued that supplements are not necessary if you have a healthy diet. However, I think it is safe to assume that for at least half the population, this is not true.

Another argument: almost all Vitamin C passes through the body and is eliminated, proving that none is utilized. One fallacy of this argument is that while in the body, it could be acting as a catalyst or as a pH regulator.

It is easier for doctors to support health using prescription drugs and vaccines, which they can control. The prescriptions help with monitoring so that encouragement can be provided.

Drug companies would not find it financially beneficial to explore and research this non-prescription method.

Often without an awareness, there is a bias because medical methods based on vitamins are less profitable. Individual doctors are mostly not responsible for this, as it is more a “community” medical problem and tradition.

On the positive side, vitamins in general are extremely safe and provide major generalhealth benefits.

Currently, covid-19 vaccines are becoming widely available, and this is a good thing. But until you get your shot, you could work on this healthy vitamin method (with more safety and POSITIVE side effects). And in the long run, the vitamin method could be more effective, because this virus has evolved other versions for which current vaccines may not be effective.

Final note: I enthusiastically support the use of vaccines. But there is likely a great benefit in generally improving the immune system with vitamins and healthy foods. And remember that most effective is an immediate large dose of vitamin C at the first sign of cold symptoms. There is no reason not to do both: vaccines and vitamins. Huge amounts of money have been spent on the vaccine program; what if a similar amount was spent on improving immune system health.

223. Trump Never Represented Our True USA Values and Policies

4 Feb

Donald Trump was our President for the last four years, but never had the support of a majority of our people. He withdrew from many international obligations, like WHO and the Paris Climate Accord. His election in 2016 was a fluke and a scam. Most knowledgeable world leaders are aware of this, but I often hear commentators who seem to be unaware. They often try to understand his strategies, but many decisions are just whims, and result from the last person he talked to.

Here are some of the factors in his election:

Trump benefited from Russian help through social media and hacked emails.

FBI James Comey made an inappropriate negative statement about Clinton just before the election.

Clinton was sabotaged by TEN Benghazi investigations by Republicans, who found nothing wrong.

Clinton won the popular vote by 2.7 million, but lost in our obsolete Electoral College process.

There was widespread voter suppression in the election, which affected her candidacy.

There are countless articles and speeches regarding his flawed presidency. Briefly, he was impeached twice, he lost the Presidency, House, and Senate in our recent election, he told some 30,000 lies while in office, his policy decisions were mostly based on self-interest and without consulting real experts, he supported violent radical groups, such as “Proud Boys,” and was responsible for the vicious attack on our Capitol.

He often insulted and attacked our traditional allies and NATO, while admiring and supporting Russia, North Korea, and Turkey. He mostly ignored our intelligence agencies. Although members of the Republican Party bear some responsibility for the inappropriate activities, most agree that he provided the major force.

222. Current Virus Extreme

5 Jan

US Daily Cases over Past Year

Why is covid-19 now infecting at extremely high levels. Graphs of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths show great recent increases. Here are current US stats: number of cases: 21-million, deaths: 363-thousand.

In the US, covid-19 began infecting early in the year (2020). Immediate government action at that time could have prevented most of the further infections. Safety rules were quickly established, but there was little government encouragement to use them. In fact, there was discouragement by some leaders. Safety rules of cloth masks, social distancing, avoidance of groups, hand washing, etc. were found to be very effective.

A serious problem is that some of our US population is simply inclined not to follow rules. This is something that is almost impossible to change and will continue to hamper virus control.

The daily number of cases remained fairly low until October, when the weather turned colder. More outside activities were somewhat safer. Major holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas led to a lot of travel and group functions. There were also ill-advised political rallies, where supporters were packed together and few wore masks.

The recent, greatly increased virus levels were partially caused by the above factors, but there were other considerations. An important point is that as the virus spread, there were more sources of infection. Early on, very few people were infection sources, later there were many, so you were more likely to catch it later on. There is another related factor. Early in the virus period, many people found that they were safe even if safety rules were ignored. So many continued this neglect even when virus sources increased.

Some people tended to ignore safety rules, when vaccines were developed. They did not realize that actual vaccinations would take a long time to complete, and safety procedures must be continued.

The increased spread of the virus has another subtle negative effect. It is well established that covid viruses evolve and established cures and vaccinations could become ineffective. We may be living under virus restrictions for another year or more. On the other hand, with the encouragement of scientists, I think these scourges can be defeated.

221. Why Elect Biden and NOT Trump

2 Nov

For a number of years, I have been writing blogs about Trump. The election is tomorrow and I feel that I still might have some effect on voters that are undecided. The following is a brief discussion of my main points.

Most serious, Trump has a bad Covid-19 record. Starting with the main virus onset in April 2020, he has a consistently discouraged the use of masks and other safety measures. Medical scientists, such as Dr. Fauci have disagreed with Trump, and they have proven to be correct.

Scientists are 99% in agreement on climate change, but Trump ignores this. Briefly, the dangers are major floods, more serious hurricanes, droughts, and worse fires. These are already well documented. Also, 67% of Americans (Pew Survey) want to work on this problem.

Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear deal, promising a better deal. He could NOT make a better deal, and now there is less control over the Iran nuclear threat. His efforts regarding North Korea missiles, have failed.

Biden clearly wants to help the people, Trump clearly wants to favor himself and his rich friends. Look at Trump speeches. They are mostly about his needs, not the needs of the people.

Trump constantly lies. For example, he says Democrats want to increase taxes, but in fact, ONLY want to increase them for the very rich. He lies about this and many other things. He loves to brag about his successes, but the statements are mostly false. For example, he is NOT the greatest supporter of Black rights since President Lincoln — there is President LBJ, and others.

Repubs and Trump have claimed to have a health care plan, but after numerous promises over many years, there is no documented (written) plan. Repubs simply cannot agree on a plan, yet want to abolish Obamacare, which provides coverage for “pre-existing conditions” and many other rules helpful for people. Trump would take insurance coverage away from millions of citizens, and but for McCain, almost did.

Newspapers like the Wash, Post and NY-Times, and many others have many decades of reliable and honest reporting. Suddenly, when Trump arrives, they are all “fake” news? He started out with lies about Obama’s birth certificate, and exaggerated threats about immigration at our southern border. He lies about the dangers of covid-19, and is responsible for numerous deaths. Robert Woodward has published recordings of these lies.

Biden stands for reasonable and responsible government. Trump clearly wants to be the King, with total power. He has expressed his love for dictators and has undermined most of our policing and intelligence agencies. He caused our Post Office to be sabotaged, to help with his election. He appoints loyalists rather than experts in many areas. He uses the US Attorney General as his personal lawyer.

Trumps foreign policies are erratic and dangerous. Foreign leaders no longer trust him. Under Obama we had great relationships with other democratic countries. Trump has favored autocracies (dictatorships). His policies with regard to China were costly and ineffective, because he would not work as a team, with our allies. He has lied that foreign countries pay his tariffs, when they are actually paid by US importers, causing
increased prices for us. Because of our policy with China, we are now spending huge amounts of money to help devastated US farmers.

Trump was impeached. Many of his associates and staff are convicted criminals. His turnover of personnel is huge. Many past employees, and even his niece and sister, are highly critical. A Secretary of State (Tillerson) called him a “moron.” There is a huge list of traditional Republicans that have turned against him (example: George Will). A number of traditional apolitical organizations have decided to support Biden over Trump, example: Scientific American (magazine).

Biden, on the other hand, is incredibly experienced and reliable. He will hire the best experts and does not need loyalists, like Trump needs for protection. Biden will not govern by whim and tweets, but will work using a consensus of well qualified advisors. Trump has attacked scientists and others dedicated to truth. He has fired and limited the reports of government scientists.

Summary, Biden will provide our country with responsible leadership and care for the people (all of us). Trump will fail with the virus, international leadership, infrastructure, unbiased justice, world respect, survivable wages for workers, and in other ways.