Archive | January, 2016

38. Trump’s Wall

30 Jan

Donald Trump advocates the building of a giant, almost 2000mile, insurmountable wall between Mexico and the USA; to be paid for by the Mexican Government. And if they don’t pay for it, he will impose tariffs or other financial sanctions to make them sorry. For some people, I have already said enough to fill them with thoughts of ridicule and laughter, but many in authority are reluctant to take on this champion of simple and impossible solutions. But in any event, I think that “Trump’s Wall” will become a sound-bite like “Fulton’s Folly” or similar; an abbreviation for absurb policies.

Here are just a few of the many criticisms for that plan that I can think of.

Any plan to prevent illegals from entering our country (a good goal) cannot be complete or perfect. There will always be ways to circumvent any wall. You can tunnel under, fly over, go by sea, cross the Candian border, hide in a truck that legally crosses the border, create false passports, and come legally but remain past your deadline. My personal plan would be to distract the border patrol with several small drones, and then use a lightweight magnesium ladder to go over the wall. Of course, you could electrify the 2000 mile wall at only a “small” expense, and what’s a few dead animals and people accidently killed.

Apparently, we don’t care about our relationship with Mexico, so we will force them to pay for “Trump’s Folly.” And of course, their cooperation regarding drug trafficking and other vital factors will be unaffected. Maybe we should set-up a Trump law like preventing all Muslims from entering our country; and apply it to all Mexicans.

How many years would it take for our Congress to build a giant 2000 mile wall. A president could not authorize an expensive project like this. It could take two or more years for Congress to approve a budget and plan, or maybe no approval at all.

I have to include one more thought about Trump.  He says that he is the candidate that cannot be bought by other rich “contributors”; and so they cannot bribe him into supporting rich people’s goals. But please wake-up: HE IS ONE OF THEM. All you have to do is look at his written budget (available on the Internet) to see that he supports lower taxes for rich folks, like him. If you would support him because he has a long history of religious good-works, get serious. He only started quoting the bible when he began his presidential campaign.

Finally, if you talk to a Trump supporter, he/she will probably say that they don’t care about all this (above) and really want to vote for him because of his straight talk and strength. Hopefully, more than half of our population does not agree. Trying to act strong and come up with simple solutions, have gotten us into two impossible wars, practically bankrupted our country, and created a whole army of angry terrorists.

37. Careful Voting

30 Jan

In several previous blogs I discussed serious political problems. In a democracy, the only way to solve such problems is to vote the offending officials and/or party out of office. In my previous Blog, 36, I promised to deal with ways to improve voting in my next blog.

It should be obvious that simply listening to what a politician promises is not sufficient for judging his/her effectiveness in office.  Listen and think carefully about what is said, but also consider:

1. Examine the history of the candidate and the party. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Try to find objective and impartial information.

2. Search the voting record for important legislation. Fortunately, we now have the wonderful internet to help us find this and other information.

3. You can find transcripts of speeches and other types of documentation. Anything stated without real evidence is suspect. Learn how to verify assertions.

4. One of the most important documents to look for are proposed budgets. You will find that the budgets will tell you what class of people will supported and who will be neglected. You must look at the written budget. Politicians have been known to tell lies about budgets that are inconsistent with what they actually stated in writing. Reading a written budget can be very informative as to actual plans.

5. If you are concerned with one political party, you must see what the other party is saying about the same issues. This is so obvious, that examples are not necessary. You must be aware of all arguments related to a policy.

6. Be aware of subtle innuendoes: sly remarks stated without evidence. A current example is all the innuendo about the citizenship of a candidate who was born in Canada.

7. Be aware of political assertions that will manipulate you by creating fear. Governmental actions must be based on facts and careful assessments, not on impulsive reactions to fear. Repeating over and over descriptions of minor acts of terrorism creates unnesesary fears. Currently, in the USA, deaths due to “terrorists” are very much fewer than those caused by common criminals and deranged people. Real, serious threats exist in the world, but exaggeration does not help to deal with them. Sometimes a rapid response is not possible or effective.

8. A past president or other official may not be responsible for events taking place while he/she is in office. This is a very difficult issue, which often leads to incorrect interpretations. A common example is that a president does not make any major laws, that is the role of Congress.

9. I have noticed many blatant and obvious lies. I recall commentators altering critical words just presented in a political video a few minutes before. If a commentator makes a lot of these malicious alterations, then he/she is not to be trusted. A common example is: a candidate may say that he wants to raise taxes for rich people, but lower them for all others. The commentator says the he advocates raising taxes (period) — not the “whole” truth.

10. Examine the logic of a politicians arguments. For example, a rich candidate cannot be bought by others, true, but he/she may already have undesirable intentions. How did he become so rich? Did he act morally and ethically, or just profitably. Does an ability to make a personal fortune, translate to the extreme complexities of running a nation.

11. Regarding national policies, it is OK to look at how other nations have dealt with the same situations. Why not, we are great, but not perfect. In any endeavor, it is important to learn and adapt. Many people and nations have failed because of rigid and unadaptive thinking.

12. What are the goals of a candidate? An abstraction like “let’s make our nation great again” really says nothing. Will it be great for all the people or just certain categories of people?

Finally, I am fully aware of the fact that very bright people already know all this, and others will find these principles to be tedious, boring, and/or a waste of time. My only hope is that a few of you may dig a little deeper into the really important process of voting effectively. It is the only way to solve some of our most serious national problems.

36. Capitalism Corrupted

25 Jan

The current Republican candidates represent an advanced stage of a transformation taking place in the USA; and many other countries. This transformation is an erosion of intelligent thinking and action; replaced by crude manipulations of the citizens designed to benefit the extremely wealthy “royalty class”. The Republican candidates try to manipulate voters by making them more fearful, by providing dangerous simple solutions to important problems, by lying about historical events, and by blaming scapegoats for our problems. They all do most of this, but admittedly, one of them is so crude and offensive that he stands out from the others. He shows what this harmful changing system can ultimately lead to.

How did this erosion take place?  It is, in fact, a kind of evolution. For the past hundred years or so, there have been dramatic changes in the Earth’s population of humans.  The factors that have developed and changed include: technology in general, the Internet, powerful weapons, increased communication among all of Earth’s citizens, consumer goods, etc.  In this recent period of human history, an evolutionary process took place. Clever persons learned how to make fortunes and became better and better at doing this. After a certain level of extreme wealth was achieved, wealth was further enhanced by, in effect, “bribing” government officials (like Congressmen) to make favorable laws. The process is similar to biological evolution where the fittest (often the most intelligent) survive and grow stronger. Favorable laws for rich people include: lower tax rates, unfair subsidies, and tax loopholes, which allow income to be hidden or taxed at a low rate.  Tax simplification is an agenda of the GOP, but it only helps rich people by allowing more tax loopholes.  Lower taxes for one group will always result in higher taxes for others, or fewer services.

What are the dangers of a powerful royalty class? Simply put, as more money is shifted upward, the number of desperate poor people increases. Desperate people commit more crimes and eventually resort to violent revolution. The “Arab Spring” illustrates what can happen when an extremely rich and clever group run a country. But even if a revolution never occurs, it is simply reasonable and fair, that more average citizens should enjoy prosperity, not just the wealthy. After all, wealthy people use all the rest of us for the enjoyment of their money. We provide the military, police, firemen, construction workers for their houses, repairmen, garbage men, maids, cooks, doctors, therapists, accountants, and so forth — all necessary for the enjoyment of wealth.

Personally, I do believe in capitalism, but a version that is appropriately limited to benefit all of the citizens. I have owned two small businesses. My concern is with extreme wealth, not with prosperity resulting from hard work and innovation. Capitalism in the USA can be reformed by careful voting (please see my next blog).

35. POTUS Proud

13 Jan

After tonights State of the Union Address by President Obama, I have solidified my feeling that he probably is the best U.S. President ever.  And the Republican response by Gov. Nikki Haley was wrong in certain ways, but so much more sensible and rational than most other recent GOP rhetoric.

Obama has some major accomplishments like: saving the auto industry, treaties, Cuban diplomacy, stimulus package, war strategies, immigration executive orders, etc. And he has kept the country stable and productive in the face of some of the worst problems ever faced by a President. But what puts him at the top is that his substantial accomplishments were made despite the extreme negativity and often hatred by his opponents. It used to be that the party not in office showed some respect, and would not interfere with foreign policy. Republicans blocked good legislation just to make him look bad, and would not vote on candidates for government and judicial appointments. Even when he has tried to implement Republican ideas, he has been critisized for this. Obama has succeeded despite the lies, ridicule, and legislation blockages by the GOP.

Obama is often critisized for being “timid”, ignoring serious dangers, or lacking drama in dealing with problems. Personally, I like his style of calm and thoughful decision making, which is the most important thing in running a country.  I don’t need inspiration or drama, I need good decisions — and that is what he provides.

34. Climate Change: Simplified

6 Jan

I was inspired to write this after watching a political discussion program in which an otherwise intelligent participant stated in effect: “whats all this fuss about carbon dioxide, it isn’t a poison, we breathe it in and out all the time.”  I  would guess that half the population in the USA would agree with this.

Of course carbon dioxide is not a poison, it affects the global temperture of the earth by blocking heat energy radiating upward; the more carbon dioxide  (and other gases, such as methane)  in the atmosphere, the greater the blocking affect.

CARBON DIOXIDE IS LIKE A BLANKET HOLDING IN ESCAPING HEAT

Energy from the sun in the form of light passes through the atmosphere (about 50%) and warms the earth and waters of our planet.  Just like a greenhouse, light goes though the glass, but the same glass, (like certain gases) tends to hold in the heat energy, which is in a different form — light energy comes in, heat energy goes out.

LIGHT COMES IN, BUT RESULTING HEAT ENERGY IS ABSORBED.

Without humans, these energy transfers tend to be stable processes, which only change over long periods of time – like thousands of years. Humans affect this process by industrial and transportation factors that release large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, mostly by burning fuels.  Here is the key factor: Climate changes over the last century or so are HIGHLY CORRELATED with the increased amounts of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, etc) in the atmosphere and is also correlated with the development of industrial activities.  The changes are happening TOO FAST  to be a part of any natural cycle.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS HIGHLY CORRELATED WITH INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENTS THAT RELEASE GASES INTO THE AIR.

The science of heat and light trasmission and absorption is  well-established.  Global temperatures are easily recorded and averaged. All of the scientific principles that govern the above processes are firmly established and reliable.  If this were a hoax, thousands of scientists all over the world would have to be involved, and that is not possible.  I have personally known hundreds of scientists,  and I can testify that the vast majority are obsessed with finding truth, and many will attack fellow scientists that they think are wrong.