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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.

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?

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.

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.

217. Kamala Harris Wins Debate

8 Oct

Kamla Harris did a terrific job and won the Vice-President debate on October 7, 2020. She had good affect, clear speech, and mostly answered questions appropriately. She interrupted very little and followed the debate rules. When Pence interrupted during her allotted time, she would politely say something like, “I am speaking now.”

On the other hand, Pence was a boring speaker and had great difficulty with the rules. He often ran well over his time limit and ignored the pleas of the moderator. Like Trump, he often interrupted when he heard something he did not like. He totally ignored a question on transfer of power if Biden is elected. What would he do if Trump did not leave office? On the other hand, Pence interrupted frequently and kept speaking after his time was up. I am sure Trump was proud of him because he is the perfect yes-man. He avoided answering a question of about transfer of power if Biden is elected. Trump indicated that if he loses the vote count, he will cause a lot of trouble by raising legal complaints, and who knows what else. He is against mail-in ballots even though everyone in the White House votes that way and it is common in many states.

Although Kamala’s answers were very good, I felt, at several points, that she overlooked some powerful arguments. Below are a list of these factors, which are more like supplemental info than a criticism.

There was a lot of discussion on covid-19. Perhaps the clearest error that Trump made was to discourage the use of masks. He actually ridiculed Biden for wearing a large face mask. Except for one or two brief instances, he ridiculed masks for the entire period when the virus was active: from March to present (October). She could also have mentioned that Trumps lack of a mask on many occasions set a bad example.

Regarding trade policies, one serious Trump failure is with US soy farmers. They were very dependent on China for soy sales and China terminated these sales. Farmers were devastated and Trump had to provide them with large subsidies, paid for from our taxes.

She could have mentioned that Trump successes in unemployment numbers and market upward trends were just continuations of the eight years of the Obama Presidency. Obama started with a very poor economy and made a remarkable recovery over his eight years.

Re global warming, Pence noted that the number of hurricanes stayed pretty much the same, but she could have said that the strength of them has steadily increased with the warmer waters, and destruction has worsened.

There is a tendency for Republicans to blame Biden for problems during the Obama administration. The simple fact is that Vice Presidents have little effect on major policies, which are controlled mostly by Congress and somewhat by the President at that time.

I don’t think that Kamila explicitly stated that there is NO Republican health insurance plan, that is documented in any way and available for examination. This is a continuing and important point.

There is a lot more that could have been said about Trumps anti-science attitudes. He has replaced directly or indirectly many skilled scientists in many areas of government, and has influenced the alteration of their reports to match his political goals.

The nature of protestors could have been made more explicit. Actual protestors tend to be non-violent. When there are demonstrations, certain anarchists from all over the country, may join in and use the opportunity to commit violent crimes. They, in fact, have a negative effect on the goals of those trying to demonstrate.

Trump policy has always been non-cooperative. There is much conflict because he attacks, even the mildest of critics, with vicious name calling and invalid accusations.

These are the thoughts that I had during the debate. Kamalas performance was excellent, and to cover every applicable argument would be impossible for anyone. Although, in the past, I have had some negative feelings about her, I am very happy to say that now my feelings about her are very positive. During the debate, Kamala Harris was very likable, and appropriately controlled — a great choice for Veep.

216. Covid-19 and Outdoor Infection

4 Oct

About four days ago,  Trump had a White-House Rose Garden event introducing his Supreme Court nominee. This was attended by many top administration officials and other prominent people. Shortly afterwards, several attendees tested positive for the virus, including the President and his wife. Where they were infected, is still uncertain, but it could have been in the Rose Garden. Note, it is often assumed that because an event is held outside, it is safe.

However, just being OUTSIDE is not always SAFE. On the average, it is a little better than indoor events. But if people are close together and there is no wind, then virus droplets can spread dangerously. Even with distancing, if a small wind is in the right direction, DROPLETS COULD MOVE A FEW YARDS and cause infection. The basic rule is always: distancing PLUS wearing a good mask. To make good decisions, you must imagine people spewing out droplets, and where they might end up given the wind conditions. Trump was a good distance from his Rose Garden audience, but a mass of virus droplets could travel towards him if a small wind was blowing in his direction.

Officials concerned with impressions and election results, cannot be trusted to make good safety decisions. It is just a matter of common sense, and the rule, that if you are near others, anywhere, then good protective masks are needed. And those wearing masks, for greatest safety, should have masks that are protective for themselves, as well as for others. The President needs to encourage masks and not make fun of others that are following established safety rules. It also would be of great benefit, if our government developed inexpensive masks that protect the wearer, and distributed them in some way at low or no cost.

214. Reversals by Prominent Republicans

25 Sep

A growing number of traditional and well-known Republicans have left the party and/or are now supporting Joe Biden for President. The Lincoln Project is a group formed by such individuals. The following is a list of persons making such a reversal.

George Will: highly respected conservative author and commentators

Bill Kristol:  Frequent commentator on several networks, and writer

Joe Scarborogh: Former US Representative and “Morning Joe” show.

Michael Steele: Former Republican Party Chairman

Cindy McCain: Wife of Senator John McCain, Presidential candidate

John Bolton: Former US ambassador to the UN, and book author

James Comey: Former director of the FBI

Steve Schmidt: Former Republican campaign strategist

Nicolle Wallace: Former Republican W. H. communications director

Justin Amash: US Congressman (Michigan district)

Rick Snyder: Former Michigan Governor

Tom Nichols: Professor of National Security Affairs, Repub consultant

Bill Weld: Former Governor of Massachusetts 

George Conway: Prominent attorney, husband of Kellyanne C.

Andy McKean: US Congress (from Iowa)

Peter Wehner: Aide to three Republican administrations

Joe Walsh: Former US Representative (Illinois)

Max Boot: Prominent columnist for Washington Post

Olivia Troye: Member of Trump administration and Pence aide

And others.

213. Re Virus: Expert Timely Action Was Needed

22 Sep

If our current president had acted early and thoughtfully, many lives lost to covid-19 could have been saved. Nations that worked very seriously on virus control had very few cases and deaths. Below, is a list of significant US actions and inactivity.  Our President was a businessman, with many business failures, and no government or medical experience.  How could he be expected to deal effectively with an extremely complicated issue like a major pandemic. 

The Global Health Security and Biodefense Unit was established by
President Obama in 2015 to deal effectively with problems such as viruses, like covid-19. Apparently, with little consultation and analysis, Trump abolished this unit. Just imagine how different our response to the danger could have been if this unit was in effect and Trump followed its recommendations. 

Trump failed to make early preparations for fighting this virus. Instead, he told everyone not to be concerned and the virus would soon be gone. The US could have been working on this problem early in January, instead, there were at least two months of  little activity. The only thing Trump did early, was to stop travel from China. If he had worked with experts, they would have discovered that travel from Europe was much more dangerous. Initially, New York was under very serious attack.

An effective US leader would have encouraged research and organized necessary supplies. We could have developed very effective methods, and we could have helped other countries in their use. It seems that Trump does not understand that helping others will also help the US.

IGNORING THE DANGERS.  From January 2020 to present (September) Trump has mostly minimized the dangers; presumably to make himself look better for the upcoming election. Journalist Bob Woodward presented to the public, tape recordings of his interviews with Trump. The recordings showed that he was very aware of the virus dangers, but “downplayed” them to avoid “panic.” An experienced leader would have concluded that it was much more important for the public to take the threat seriously, than to be concerned about panic. Trump stated numerous times that the virus will simply “disappear,” without any authoritative justification for this conclusion. He spoke of the development of a “herd mentality.” He actually meant “herd immunity,” which occurs when a high percentage of the population can no longer be infected.  Most experts believe that to quickly achieve herd immunity would result in too many deaths and so would be unacceptable.

FAILURE TO SUPPORT MASK USE AND DISTANCING.  With only a few exceptions, Trump has discouraged the use of face masks, social distancing, and avoidance of crowds. For a while, he was chiding people that wore masks. A responsible president would know that leadership and setting a good example is expected. Yet, for a long time, Trump would never wear a mask and often was too close to others. But what was more egregious, he held several large rallies where most were without masks, and people were crowded together.  Note that the Woodward tape recordings showed that Trump was aware of the airborne spread of this virus.

FAILURE TO PROVIDE EQUIPMENT.  Fighting a virus like covid involves the manufacture of massive amounts of equipment, including: advanced masks, hospital gowns, ventilators, etc. Trump refused to use the Defense Production Act, which could have forced the production of essential items. He could have organized the production of supplies, but instead said that governors would have to be responsible. It was several months before adequate equipment, such as PPE (personal protective equipment) was available. Meanwhile, doctors and nurses were being infected. 

RUSHING THE VACCINE.  Trump has often been in conflict with his medical experts, such as Anthony Fauci, MD. The experts say that it will take several more months before a vaccine is approved and that it will be at least six more months before it is generally available. Trump wants to rush the vaccine because it will help with his election. There are several problems with rushing.  The first is that it could take considerable testing time before harmful side effects are discovered. Safety has been a primary concern after the 1961 thalidomide tragedy, in which thousands of babies had birth defects or died. The second is that if the vaccine effectiveness does not reach a certain level (ranging between 50 and 70%), it is useless — and large quantities created at great expense would have to be destroyed. A third consideration, is that with all of the controversy associated with rushing approval, many folks will simply refuse to take it.

Early in the year I noted that medical experts estimated that it would take  at least a year or a year-and-a-half before a vaccine would be available. Current population of the US is 328 million.  At the assumed two-doses per person, this would require the manufacture, bottling, storage and application of about 500 million doses (some would not need it).  It is a huge project, and such projects usually take longer than expected because there are unanticipated difficulties. Developing virus testing methods will have similar problems. 

FINAL THOUGHT.  I am guessing that it will be two or three years before the virus will be at an insignificant level. The money spent in developing and applying vaccination and virus testing for most of the population will be colossal. We spend it, in order to save many lives, a worthwhile goal.  However, I fear that much of the money will be spent unwisely and wasted. Consider that many will refuse the vaccination and the virus testing. Both the vaccination and testing may have high error rates. Many will always refuse masks, distancing and washing. 

But I have had this thought, which may be way off base. What if we spent less money on the virus and used the savings for effective research and solutions to the climate-change dilemma, which also costs many lives, and in addition, the destruction of homes and property. My feeling is that we will waste huge amounts of money related to the virus, when more lives might be saved by increasing our efforts on the climate. As the years go by, the climate will be much more of a problem than the virus.

What do you think?

 

212. Trump Corruptions of the 2020 Election

14 Sep

Trump often complains that US elections are rigged. But it appears that most of the rigging is done by Trump himself or his associates (including Russian Vladimer Putin). Here are examples of this rigging:

In speeches, Trump has made numerous statements designed to scare or discourage voters. It is the clear duty of a President to encourage voting as a part of the democratic process. He claims that mail-in (same as absentee) ballots are not safe, which could discourage some from voting. He claims that if he is not elected, the process was rigged and therefore invalid. Note that Trump himself, uses the same type of mail-in ballot that everyone else uses, and lies that his are special. He hopes that if rigging can be established, that he can stay in office. In the end, it might take the Army to get him out of the White House, but foolishly, he recently insulted the military leaders.

Trump has discouraged or ignored attempts to make US voting safer from foreign attack. Major government efforts to fight foreign influence have been ignored by Trump.

The Trump impeachment was about a corruption of funding for Ukraine, in its fight against Russia. Funds appropriated by Congress were delayed until the Ukrainian President would agree to declare an investigation of the Joe Bidens son.

Post Office: Trumps man, Postmaster General DeJoy, slowed down mail delivery, through the elimination of sorting machines, variations in scheduling, and changes in personnel. Slowdown could benefit the
President in several ways. In one way, fewer Democrat mail-in ballots would be counted. In another way, the election would never be completed and presumably Trump would stay in office longer. Postmaster DeJoy is now under investigation.

Census. He attempted to cut down the time for Census completion so that fewer poor people would be counted. This would allow more federal funds and other benefits to go to Republican areas. The Census is provided for in the US Constitution and its corruption distorts many government functions.

Attorney General Barr meddled in the prosecution and sentencing of Trump criminal staff. Trump wanted his staff to look less criminal, better for election. Commuting sentences and hinting at pardons was used to discourage testimony against him.

Attorney General Barr undermined the Mueller Report by misrepresenting its conclusions. Barr stated incorrectly that there was a complete exoneration of the President, making him look better for re-election. Note that the investigative work of Mueller was limited to certain safer subjects and that Trump never gave actual testimony.

Intelligence Agencies. He forced the modification of intelligence reports to obscure Russian election interference. A whistleblower claimed that reports needed to change to be consistent with his policies.

CDC and Medical experts: Trump minimized the dangers of the virus. See Woodward’s voice tapes in which he confessed to downplaying the virus to prevent “panic.” But obviously it is not about panic, which he promotes in many other ways.* Virus deaths reflect poorly on his time in office and would harm his election success. He has downplayed the virus from its onset to today. It is reported that Trump associates have pressured scientists to alter reports so as to support his election needs

In many instances, scientists have been pressured or fired in an effort to improve Trumps election chances. For example, a report on climate-change would be altered to indicate less danger.

The use of the White House as a GOP convention backdrop is a violation of tradition and may violate laws (like the Hatch Act). The White House is supposed to be used for government purposes and not for any political functions. There are numerous violations in this area.


*Examples of Trump promoting panic: He tried to scare suburban people with the possibility that low-grade housing would be built in their neighborhoods; which only he could prevent. He tried to scare people by emphasizing violence, riots, and destruction of property. He falsely claimed that Democrats were responsible for the riots and that only he could prevent riots.