163. Current Issues, Briefly, #4

18 Apr

This is the 4th of a series of blogs  with brief discussions of current issues. The material is based on my Tweets, unpublished thoughts, and descriptions of various publications that I feel are worth repeating and emphasizing.

Here is the very latest info regarding the Mueller Report presentation. Tomorrow, Thursday,  A.G. Barr will have a news conference at 9:30am. About two hours later, the redacted report will be available. Having the press conference before the report is provided, is illogical and without precedence — it is shameful. Reporters will not have the report to allow appropriate questions. Bill Barr is a feckless puppet of the President. Barr was hired to protect the President and obscure corruption.

In a TED talk by Carole Cadwalladr 2019, Trump’s relationship to rich people dedicated to corrupting voting in USA, UK, and other countries is described. Watch this talk to see how this works and see the suspect names involved. We must develop ways to protect voting from illicit influence.

Facebook role in BREXIT is the subject of TED talk by Carole Cadwalladr. Misleading covert Facebook ads turned a very close BREXIT vote, similar to how Trump was elected. Certain vulnerable voters are targeted. 2020 elections are vulnerable! Fight lies that influence voting!

Republican leaders want you to believe that “socialism” is bad. True, it is bad for millionaires (and more) as they would lose money, but good for you as you would gain. True socialism means everyone earns the same. Democrats  believe in capitalism mixed with a little socialism, like Medicare/caid. No one believes in pure socialism.

Rebuilding marvelous Notre Dame? Spending a billion or so, and decades of time in total restoration is questionable. There are reports that the whole structure is not optimally sound.  Perhaps it should just be cleaned up and its great workmanship preserved and exhibited in some way. What would exact restoration prove?  The money saved could be used in a Christian way to help poor people and to improve infrastructure. Another plan would be to fix the roof and other unsafe areas in an attractive way,  without an expensive attempt at exact duplication.

Bernie Sanders was attacked (on Fox) for not paying more tax, because he advocated a specific tax increase. Here is the logic: if everyone applicable pays more tax then no party has an unfair advantage. If only Bernie or Democrats pay more, then Republicans have a political financial advantage.

“Devil agent” Steve Bannon, who spawned Trump, is now attacking Pope Francis. His child-abuse argument is a deception. The attack is really based on the Pope’s liberal values. The Pope spoke against “trickle-down economics” and other bad ideas that affect the non-rich. The Pope that most favors ordinary people, and should be commended, is Pope Francis.

Republicans have been on a downward track for a long time. But it was bizarre and dangerous Trump that really triggered a broad and powerful Democrat effort for positive change. The new Democrat presidential candidates and elected officials provide us with a lot of realistic hope. I might add that a traditional Republican, Bill Weld, just declared his presidential candidacy. History suggests that this challenge to Trump could be very significant.

According to Itep, itep.org/notadime/, the Trump/Repub 2017 TAX cuts have allowed numerous highly profitable corporations to pay ZERO (or less) federal TAX. Examples are: IBM, Netflix, Amazon, GM, Delta, and MGM. The tax cuts by Republicans have greatly increased the national debt and greatly favored the rich, while the non-rich received only temporary small benefits. Because of the loss of income, Trump is now talking about reducing popular social programs like Medicare. In a short period after the cuts, the economy improved somewhat, but those gains are disappearing. In the end, it is only the rich Republican donors that benefitted. 

“Spies”, says Attorney General Barr, attacked Trump and staff. Hmm? How could “spies” get indictments, confessions, and convictions of the Trump crew. The biggest record of Trump is the amazing number of CRIMINAL associates, and staff turnover. Finally, Trump has a real A.G. puppet. Research has shown that Barr’s inaccurate summaries were also perpetrated many years ago. Barr is doing great disservice by undermining the FBI.

L. O’Donnell on MSNBC said that on the last day of office, Trump would pardon himself, and escape prison. But, what about STATE criminal charges. He can’t pardon them, and I will bet there are some.

Eric Swalwell is running for USA President. I have thought about his candidacy for some time. He is less experienced, but has many winning qualities, such as intelligence and charisma. He would be 40 at time of taking office. Although I like many of the candidates, Swalwell could have the best chance of beating Trump. Other candidates would lose some votes of racist folks. I hate racists, but it may take some to beat one.

Trump is threatening the “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” rules. If modified, many people could suffer and die from toxins. We must impeach Trump or nullify him ASAP. He is a danger in many ways.

The childish method of Trump is simplistic and ignores all facets of a problem. He is mostly ineffective in what he does because he only relies on his instinct and ignores experts. Even worse, he imitates and befriends tyrants. His gutting of our government leaves it barely functional.

Trump’s main method of negotiation is deranged. He builds up our military and then uses threats to achieve goals. For example, instead of threatening Central American nations he should be supporting them. Obama knew that and he was better able to control immigration from there.

Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen resigned. Just another sad event in the defective Trump admin. Choosing staff only on the basis of loyalty to him, and then attacking them is just madness. Actually, some of his choices were not too bad, but the good ones were conflicted and left.

Right now, I am waiting to see the citizen-paid-for Mueller Report tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

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162. Tired of Gridlock? Explore Easy-to-Read SCIENCE

16 Apr

Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump.  Tired of Trumpism, never-ending gridlock, endless speculation, and deranged  government??  To avoid this frustration and engage in something both beneficial and practical,  I suggest exploring recent findings of science. I have listed some fascinating and easy to read sources for doing this.

But first, here are some good general places to find current science facts. (Note: anything you read has the possibility of error or bias. If your research is important, use several sources.)

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), “today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues”  Sign up for free emails.

Scientific American and other science magazines. Scientific American has both easy to read and more technical articles. Its reputation is tops.

The New York Times Science section is excellent and tops. Many other good  newspapers have similar sections. The online NY-Times costs very little.

Kurzweil Newsletter. This is an excellent source for many science topics and has much special info on artificial intelligence. There are many other similar newsletters. Do a search on “newsletters on science topics” to see what might interest you. Most are free.

Curiosity Stream. For a small fee, this service has many interesting lectures for the layman.

Khan Academy is a free source of excellent tutorials for the layman. It started very simply as some rough tutorials by Salman Khan for his cousins. It was so good that it eventually got great financial support and now is much improved.

Wikipedia is a free source for everything, including science. I have used it many times and found it to be generally authoritative. The articles submitted are examined by a board of editors.

Here are some very excellent entry points for studies of science.

Manned vs un-manned space exploration is a current issue. First of all, for several years, the SETI program (see Internet) searches for electronic transmissions from intelligent species on other planets. Recently, it has been established that there are many more stars with planets than originally thought. Most recent space exploration (beyond our planet) has been done with un-manned space-ships and have provided very valuable info. This method is much cheaper and safer than exploring with astronauts. Non-scientists unfamiliar with this issue may support only manned missions.  Here is a good reference: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/robots-vs-humans-who-should-explore/   I should also add a fantastic tour of the international space station: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doN4t5NKW-k   The NASA website has much more information and inspiring pictures.

Studies of DNA and gene editing are producing incredible results. To see a broad range of topics for the layman, go to the “TED” website and select DNA (and/or CRISPR) as the topic. There are several wonderful presentations on gene editing for curing diseases and improving crops, super computers made with DNA, and studies of derived new life made with a modified (un-natural)  DNA structure. The advances are amazing and are already in progress. If you really study gene-editing you would support GMO foods, which will be more important Earth’s population increases. Nature modifies genes all the time (that is how evolution works). Scientist modifications of DNA are immediately known and can be tested, whereas natural changes could be harmful and go undetected.

Some of the most amazing findings are in the area of physics known as quantum mechanics. There is so much happening here, that I have decided to mention only one topic, “entanglement.”  This is seen with studies of the tinyest particles, such as electrons and photons.  Two electrons could be entangled: a change in electron A is also seen in a distant electron B. Recent research has eliminated any possible field interaction between the two electrons, which could be miles apart. See Wikipedia: “quantum entanglement” for a discussion. Also, there is a recent Scientific American article, December 2018, page 58, Hanson and Shalm, that supports the basic notion.

Meat can be grown from animal stem cells so that animals do not have to be raised at great cost, and then killed. See Scientific American, December, page 33, by Owen Schaefer. Currently, it is very expensive but research will bring the costs down — and people like it.

Here are some other exciting topics that can be explored using Wikipedia, TED, and general Internet searches:

Battery improvements that can enhance electric cars and green electric power grids. When green sources like windmills and solar panels are at low levels, energy stored in advanced batteries during peak functioning can fill in gaps.

There are many interesting studies of the human brain. One fruitful area is the way in which the brain recognizes human faces. Do a search on “biologist Doris Tsao” for details.

There is always something exciting in astronomy.  The latest is the very first  picture of a “black hole.”  (Search “picture of black hole.”)  Also read about “supernova.” This is an extremely powerful explosion of a star, which causes the production and distribution of heavy elements, necessary for human life and many structures.

There are many other topics for exploration, depending on your interests.  I suggest the following, for people that have little science education (see above). For interesting lectures, subscribe to the very inexpensive “Curiosity Stream.” Or, for actual education, the free “Khan Academy” works well.

Finally, studying science helps with understanding very important issues such as “climate-change”, health factors, green resources, stress reduction, and safety regulations. In practice, science is not always perfect, but it is devoted to finding truth and to rejecting bias and self-serving interests.

 

 

 

 

 

161. Democrat Strategy for 2019

7 Apr

Recently, much has been said and written about Democrat strategy. As Trump continues to damage our country in his effort “to win,” and erase all of Barack Obama’s accomplishments, our primary concern is to put more Dems. into office. This blog presents an outline of issues and strategies that I consider most effective for our goals.

Far left ideas should be on a wish list, practical progressive ideas should form platforms (as a general rule). Winning elections is our primary goal. I favor many far left ideas and when we are in power, these can be ardently developed.

The biggest scam perpetrated by Repubs is that giving more money to very wealthy people and corps, will provide benefit to the non-rich. This scam is often called “trickle-down economics,” and history shows it does not work. Claims are made that by lowering taxes for the rich, corporations will increase wages. This generally does NOT happen. The extra money is mostly used for stock buy-backs and executive bonuses — little if any extra for the workers. After our treasury is robbed by lowered tax for the rich, Repubs plead that funds for Medicare, Social Security, infrastructure, education, etc. must be decreased, because we just can’t afford them. It is simple:

RICH made RICHER > Less Gov INCOME > Cut VITAL Programs

This scam has been used for decades.

Emphasis for political speeches should be:  1. Climate Change,  2. Healthcare, 3. Income equality and fair taxes, 4. infrastructure repair and advances, 5. Education, 6. Green jobs,  7. Revisions to criminal justice system  8. healthy environment, 9. Immigration laws, and many other areas. Climate change and healthcare stand out, but other areas are also vital.

Here is an example of how to state our goals: “improving healthcare and insurance coverage is vital, and we will consider ObamaCare improvements, Medicare for all, and other ideas.” If our ideals are carefully presented to the voters, we will have success. Very socialistic ideas presented too soon, just provide ammunition for Repubs.

Here are some slogans that we should put on signs, hats, t-shirts, and billboards:

Good healthcare for all

Climate-Change disasters, already here

Repubs purposely damaged ObamaCare

Tax the wealthy, they can afford it

“Trickle-down” doesn’t work

Less tax for the wealthy does not help us.

Trump creates crises to scam you.

Trump rules and scams by stoking fears

Extra Border walls won’t stop immigration or drugs

Tax breaks for Wealthy are permanent, for us, temporary

 

160. Trump: Early Signs of Dementia

3 Apr

Being an older person and a psychologist, I have spent many hours studying “dementia” and Alzheimer’s disease. First, to clarify, “dementia” is a description of (mostly behavioral) symptoms, and Alzheimer’s is a disease of brain cells that can cause dementia symptoms. Dementia is not a sudden thing, but generally comes on gradually.  Minor symptoms may appear at 60 or 70 and increase with age so that there are severe deficits starting at 85 or 90. Some people never develop significant symptoms. (Recent research shows that a lack of sleep can make Alzheimer’s worse).  Here is a good reference on the whole topic:

http://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs#symptoms

Also look at “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, By Bandy Lee MD”  It includes  27 essays by psychiatrists who provide diagnoses.

What triggered this blog was an interaction today of Trump with journalists on the occasion of a meeting with a Nato official. He suggested that the media look into the “oranges” of the Mueller investigation (he meant “origins”). He was also confused about the birthplace of his father. These errors, and many others, if you look carefully at him, are consistent with early-warning signs of dementia.

Here are some of the symptoms of early dementia:

Memory loss, especially short-term. An example might be when he forgot the reason for firing FBI Director Comey.

Difficulty finding the right words.  No clear example.

Apathy and confusion. In long speeches the disorganization suggests confusion.

Difficulty following storylines and conversing. Not clear

Difficulty following instructions and finding landmarks.

Repetition is common because of memory loss. This happens often for Trump

Difficulty in adapting to change. One could speculate that changing from a campaign mode to being president was hard for him.

REPETITION AND MEMORY LOSS ARE MOST APPARENT.  Some of his errors may be due to confusion or memory loss — or they could just be lies or poor scholarship.

I think he would consider resigning except that he would then be vulnerable to prosecution for crimes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

159. Fundamental Worldwide Problem

1 Apr

In positions of power are ruthless greedy leaders that have learned to influence gullible and less-educated citizens to accept (and if applicable) vote for them. This is true for all of human history. They tend to find scapegoats for problems that in many cases they have created, and to stoke fears of immigrants and foreigners. They often advocate violence to achieve their goals. Year by year, potential autocrats tend to worsen, which is why countries have term limits.

They tend to rob citizens of their rights, such as reliable unbiased voting, free speech, proper governmental organization, and a responsible police force.

They work against: adequate wages, reasonable social programs, healthcare coverage, infrastructure projects, environmental protections, education, and freedom to assemble and protest.

They re-write political history, cover-up bad acts with lies, support their rich friends in business, and attack an independent press that can hold them responsible. In the worst case, they murder unfavorable reporters.

What is the result of this problem?

There can be rioting, revolution, and many types of suffering for the citizens and in some cases the leaders. There are numerous examples of this fundamental problem throughout history and in current governments. The Arab Spring revolutions are really good examples of these concepts. Hungary and Poland, currently, are trending towards autocracy.

How can we correct this tendency towards tyranny? The short answer is to fight it in every (peaceful) way possible, including elections and investigations. We must encourage patriotic candidates for every office, that care about the country and its citizens; and promote voting. There already are many plans publicized for attacking this oppression.

Much of this analysis is applicable to the USA. Many of us believe that the Syrian refugee problem stirred up fears in the USA (and elsewhere). Opportunists used these fears to manipulate and take power. There is now a surge in progressive candidates that have the courage to fight corrupt systems.

Final note: I have tried to make a brief and understandable analysis of what is really a very complicated problem, that have been the subject of numerous books and essays. It is my goal to provoke thought, and further exploration of these profound issues.

158. Trump Versus Obama

29 Mar

On many occasions I have seen Trump motivated to compete and beat Barack Obama. For Trump it is like TV ratings. He was always comparing himself with others. I have decided it is time to make a comparison to see who really wins. (Trump in blue.)

Obama: Won the electoral college and popular vote. Trump: Only won the electoral college and by a small margin. He lost the popular vote by almost 3-million.

Obama: awarded a Nobel Prize and Profile in Courage Award.   Trump Nothing

Obama: Doctor of Law degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Harvard, President of Harvard Law Review.   Trump only a BS. In economics, Wharton School  

Obama: Large inauguration crowd.   Trump much smaller.  (This was supported by photographic evidence.)

Obama: supported Climate Change efforts.    Trump ignored

Obama: good relations with our traditional allies.   Trump attacked allies

Obama: recognized N. Korea as danger.   Trump was beaten by Kim in negotiations

Obama: small and ordinary turn-over in staff.  Trump large turnover.

Obama: stock market continuously rose over 8 years in office. Trump merely continued the trend.

Obama: good family man, no female accusations.  Trump: 23 accusations

Obama: staff respected him.     Trump was called names like “moron.”

Obama: Never went bankrupt, never seriously investigated, never lost a fraud case. Trump: all of the above

Obama: Long history of service to country and support of non-rich. Trump has long history of lawsuits and corruption, like Trump University. Favors the rich.

Obama: a few understandable mistakes.  Trump: thousands of lies.

Obama: always considered to be of sound mind. Trump childish, narcissistic, forgetful

Obama: provided his Tax returns.    Trump did not.

Obama: punished or ignored tyrants like Kim of N. Korea.  Trump said he loves Kim and that he admires several tyrants. He likes the way they control the people.

Obama: no serious discussions of impeachment.   Trump: many dedicated to impeachment movement.

Obama wins. I could add many more comparisons, but they would be less clear-cut. I am sure if a Republican made a similar list it would lean the other way, but that’s politics.

157. Current Issues, Briefly, #3

29 Mar
This is the third of a series of blogs with brief discussions of current issues. The material is based on my Tweets, unpublished thoughts, and descriptions of various publications that I feel are worth repeating and emphasizing.
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AOC wants a “Green New Deal,” Trump wants a “Greed New Deal”
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Here is a recent comment I wrote about Clinton, Lewinsky, and special reports
I like both exPres. Clinton and Hillary (who would have made a great president). Both fine people.  Powerful articulate leaders like Bill Clinton at their peak are constantly approached by women who want an intimate connection.  I don’t blame anyone in the Lewinsky affair. It is just natural and many good leaders indulge.  Hillary was great for her understanding and loyalty.  Angry Republicans and eager reporters made a mountain out of a mole hill. Re the Mueller Report, wait and see what it really says. As the investigation progressed, it became more and more corrupted by Trump and it looks like Mueller decided to finish early. But he and others will actually continue for quite a while.  Additional note: What a president does as president, should not be affected by personal matters, like affairs. 
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Latest: Trump says the Republican party will be “the party of health care.” Really? The Dems developed a plan with numerous benefits for all citizens and has been in effect for many years. Millions of additional folks were covered. ObamaCare, which could have had a better record, was sabotaged by the Repubs.  The Republican party has never agreed on a final health care plan in the form of a Congressional bill. They have only had several competing ideas. Clearly, Trump would end ObamaCare without replacement as he promised over and over. If that happened, literally many millions of people would greatly suffer and many would have died (estimated 25,000 dead per year). He does not care about us, he only cares about destroying the Obama legacy, proving his superiority, and supporting his rich friends with tax cuts and subsidies.
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Today,  Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee was attacked by Repub members and asked to resign because he investigates Trump.  Schiff made an excellent reply citing various well-known events, such as the Trump Tower meeting (June 9, 2016) including Trump family members and a Russian agent. Schiff has a calm intelligent confidence that should be an example for us all. Send him a nice letter or donation.
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As I watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (akaAOC) in action, she is very impressive. As she gains more experience, she will be an even more powerful force for the right causes. She is very likable and persuasive.
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Mueller could have continued his investigation but decided to quit early.  He could see that Congressional and State probes would now be more effective. His investigation was taken over by those being investigated. The Democrat House committees, SDNY (district court), and other agencies will get more answers.
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Trump touts his election win and basically says Mueller is a nothing because he was not elected. Really? More people voted for Hillary than Trump. When Republican Robert Mueller was chosen as Special Council, Repubs like William Barr (now AG) were highly pleased. Special Councils are never elected. Mueller was FBI director for 12 years and was a medaled Marine. Mueller was not elected, Trump argues, but are all elected people good citizens?
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Regarding the UK Brexit, the real message of the Theresa May plan rejections, is that what the Parliament really wants is another vote. After recent experiences, more people may be changing their minds. Personally, I would like to see the UK rejoin the EU. The EU is a powerful force for good in the world, and pre-Trump, a highly valued friend of the USA.
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Mitch McConnell prematurely brought the “Green New Deal” to a vote before any discussion. Dem senators voted “present” as a way of showing their contempt for this trickery.  The Green New Deal, AOC said, was meant to be a “vision document” and not an actual bill. I generally like the plan, but much of it is for the distant future and provokes ridicule. It would be better to have a more acceptable plan for an actual bill and have more controversial ideas as a platform or something else. “Visions” are great, but they must not interfere with voting down Trump and his Greed New Deal.
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