Thursday, July 20, 2017

  Put America first? There might be times when this is good. But, I wonder.
  Would it be such a bad thing if we, as a nation, were as concerned about the economies of other nations as we were our own? What if we looked for ways to help the other nations, to improve their economies and help their people?
   There are scriptural injunctions suggesting that we place the welfare of others ahead of our own. "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth." (I Corinthians 10:24)
   If we are to be concerned with others on an interpersonal level, I know not why we shouldn't strive to practice the principle when it comes to dealing with other nations.
   If we can get to a point where we care about others as much as we do about ourselves, that would be a wonderful thing. This is what we have been taught. We help our neighbors when we can. We aren't of a me-me-me mentality. Love thy neighbor as thy self means something to us. We strive to live up to it.
   If America is to gain back any greatness it might have lost, perhaps it should consider that true greatness lies in character, not in prosperity.
   I do not know where you draw the line. I don't know that such efforts as buying American products are wrong. I only suggest there might be reason for not adopting the philosophy of putting America first. And, I think how wonderful it would be if we, as a nation, did take the scriptural injunctions, and apply them. Let no nation seek its own, but other nations' wealth. Love thy neighboring nation as thy self. Can you imagine such a nation, that lived to such a high standard? I don't know that such a country has ever existed, but think it would be a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Conversation with My Government


   "Hello, government. I'm calling about your decision to give those three sisters a year's stay here. You know, the three who were to be deported in a week."
   "Yes."
   "Yes. I need you to answer me some questions. I need to know which laws are being used, so I'll know if you're going about this all in the right way."
   "I see. And, may I ask who you are?"
   "Well, I'm John Jackson."
   "Are you a member of the media?"
   "No, I'm John Jackson."
   "You've reached our media relations department. I'm afraid you will need to be a member of the media if I'm to help you."
   "I see. Well, I looked through your website and you don't have anyone else I can contact. Yours is the only phone number the agency lists."
   "Yes."
   "I'm one of your stockholders, so I thought maybe it would be okay if I called, even if I'm not a member of the press."
  "What do you mean you are a stockholder? Actually, the government doesn't have stockholders."
  "Actually, it does. Well, maybe not in the strict sense, but this is my government and I run it."
  "I see. I wonder who appointed you to such a high position."
  "Abraham Lincoln did."
  "Abraham Lincoln?"
  "Yes, he was giving something called the Gettysburg Address and he said something about government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Well, that would be me."
   "I see."
   "Ever since then, I've pretty much thought of this as my government."
   "I see. Well, you're not a member of the press. Do you realize what a nightmare it would be if we tried to take calls from everyone in the public, answering every question they have? We simply don't have that time."
  "Make time. I'm one of your stockholders."
   "Have you filed a Freedom of Information inquiry?"
   "Too much paperwork. I'm a stockholder. I'll just call you up and you'll answer my questions. It's a lot simpler that way."
   "I see. If you were a member of the press, I'd be glad to help you."
   "What if I were a congressman, or a mayor or head of a government agency?"
   "Yes, I suppose I could help you then."
   "Well, those are my people. Think of them as my minions, if you will. I tell them what to do."
   "I see."
   "I don't like the way you think you only have to answer to them. And, I especially don't appreciate the way you think you only have to answer to the press."
   "Well, yes, like I said, we've only got time to answer to so many people. The press represents you in getting information."
  "I didn't elect them. I never gave the press permission to take anything from me."
  "And, what are they taking from you?"
   "My right to talk to you, to get some answers. You said you'd help me if I were a member of the press, but since I'm not, you're not going to help me."
   "But, this is media relations . . ."
   "The press doesn't run this country. I do. So, I'm going to have to ask you to quit answering so much to them and start answering more to me."


   At that point, the government hung up on me. I was left thinking that if government truly were government of the people, by the people, and for the people, then, yes, it would make information more accessible to us, the public.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The 14th and 19th Amendments are Pertinent

  I wonder if when Judge David Nuffer rules on whether the United Utah Party should be allowed to advance Jim Bennett as its candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, it will represent a significant U.S ruling on the rights of minor political parties.
   And, I wonder if he will turn to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment promises "equal protection of the laws." Does this not include allowing minor and third parties to have equal access to the ballot?
   And, I think of the 19th Amendment, which says, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied." Is it an incursion on our right to vote to allow the Republicans and Democrats to vote for their candidates, but to exclude those of the United Utah Party from voting for their selected nominee?
 

Monday, July 17, 2017

I Wonder why the Same Principle shouldn't Apply to Nations

   I wondered on what they said, of how they will make the theme, "Made in America," big again, and of how Made in America will make America great again.
  Donald Trump and Mike Pence: This is their idea. Is it a good one?
  I wonder how it will affect the economy. For the better? 
   Somehow, I tend to think it better for us to be inclusive of other nations, to share with them. It somehow just seems the right thing to do. I like the idea of not setting yourself above others, of not placing your welfare above the welfare of others.
   Its a principle when we speak of relations, individually, one person with another. We don't set our own welfare above that of others. We don't disregard our neighbors. We help them when we can. We aren't of a me-me-me mentality. The teaching, Love thy neighbor as thyself, means something to us and is real. We were raised to think this way. It is a principle that has become part of us. 
   So, somehow, I wonder why the same principle shouldn't apply with countries.

Note added July 19: Would that I would have thought this out a little better before I published it. I don't know that the principle of not placing yourself above others applies to the Made in America campaign. It might apply to the America First effort, at least in part, though. Maybe my thinking was a little dyslexic. Perhaps I will print a new blog, rewriting this one, at a later date.
  

Parties having Equal Access to the Ballot is a Civil Right

   This could be a whole new field for a nation that has already declared equality for so many. So far, we've had equality for women, for black people, for those of same-sex attraction, and so forth.
   Now, what of equality for political parties?
   Not that Constitution and Socialist party members are flogged, or forced to sit at the back of the bus. But, just like women and black people were once not allowed to vote, minor and third parties lack equal access at the voter's box. They are discriminated against.
   And, it goes completely unnoticed.
   Rules are set making it hard on the little parties. If you don't receive 2 percent of the vote, you are knocked off the ballot for the next election. If you don't form your party eleven months in advance, you cannot be placed on the ballot.
   I don't know about all states, but Utah does such things.
   I understand the Elections Office hired extra workers to count the signatures for Tanner Ainge and John Curtis, who got on the ballot through the signature-gathering process. The Elections Office wanted to ensure it completed counts for them in a timely fashion. But, how did it deal with counting the signatures for the United Utah Party? It not only didn't hire extra workers, it made a point to take its time, saying it had 30 days and was going to take the full thirty days. Worse, if I understand correctly, it said it could not be expected to take time away from its responsibilities just to count signatures for the United Party.
   As if counting the United Party's signatures wasn't a part of what its responsibility was.
   If these things I have heard are correct, this is discrimination -- discrimination based on party. Yes, there exists in America -- at least in Utah -- discrimination based on political party.

 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Joseph's Idea Smacked of Socialism

   There is a tale for the telling in a book called Genesis, in the Bible, and, for reading it, ye might not be so opposed to socialism.
   Not always, anyway. You might see there are times and places when a little socialism is what is in order, what is needed.
   I'll turn you to Genesis 41, the tale of Joseph, sold into Egypt, and of how Pharaoh dreamed of seven ill-favored kine eating up seven well-favored kine, and seven withered ears of corn devouring seven full-and-good ears.
   And, there was no one in the land that could interpret the dream, until Joseph. And Joseph said it was not in him, but it was God who could interpret the dream.
  "Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt; And there shall arise after them seven years of famine," Joseph told the Pharaoh.
   "Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let the Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years."
   Sounds to me like a huge government social program is being brought about, and a huge tax -- one fifth of all the crops? That's a reasonably heavy tax. Let's read on.
   "And let them gather all the food of those good years and come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine."
   Well, you can recall or guess the rest of the story. The Pharaoh likes the idea, and can't see anyone more wise and discreet in all the land, so he appoints Joseph to run the government program, and Joseph does, and saves all the people from famine.
   You can point out, if you like, that when the people came to the storehouse, they bought from it. This evidently was not a case of people being given free handouts.
   But, don't let it go unnoticed on you that it was a government social program, and a government business.
   Also, one wonders if they made token payments or full payments for the food they received. The drought lasted seven years. Some of them must have made their living off farming. If their income was cut off for seven years, could they afford to pay full value for the food?
   I do not say government should always be the provider when famine sets in, or when the people need food. I only say, in this situation, it worked. In this situation, it was a wonderful program.
  Now, I do not mean to be overly harsh with my good friends, the Republicans, but I do think it worthy to note that if there was as much sentiment against government being involved in things as there is today -- if these Republicans of today were transported back to the day of Joseph -- perhaps many of them would have opposed Joseph's plan.

(Story added to 7/17/17)


 

The Benefits of Full Employment should make Us Scream for Them

  How do you fashion an economy where everyone is employed?
  Think of it: If everyone is employed, and making a decent enough wage, everyone is going to be able to place food on the table. If everyone is eating, there are no poor among you (at least not so poor they are starving). There would be no recessions and no depressions (not if the definition of a depression is that people are going without food).
   And, if everyone is employed, the need for government food programs takes a dive and that means deficit spending decreases. You can start reducing the national debt.
   All this, if you can just keep everyone employed. It seems to me, we should look at all these benefits say we definitely want this.
   Unfortunately, most people would reject some of the measures because they cannot stomach the government being involved in providing jobs. So, what we are saying, is that while there is an answer to unemployment -- there is a way to keep everyone employed -- we can't do it because someone will slap the word "socialism" on it.
   And, we just can't have "socialism."
   (Before I continue, I want to say it isn't going unnoticed on me that if government does provide jobs, the companies created will have to be profitable, or the government has to prop them up with taxpayer money -- and that is hardly a way to reduce the national deficit.)
   First, let me suggest we should be able to do a lot of this without "socialism." We have a lot of millionaires and billionaires who happen to be two things: philanthropists and patriots. Ask them to create new companies -- even if they prove unprofitable -- just to provide employment. There is no telling how many such companies might result if we just put out a call for our rich to step up to create such jobs.
   Second, many of the government-created jobs might be no more than that: government created, but not to be government-owned for long. Once up and running, the lead employees could take them over and become the owners.
   As I exit this writing, I will add one other big benefit. Already I have spoken of no depressions and ending or curbing the national deficit. Those are huge benefits. But, there is another: Employment increases the character of a people.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

There's Reason to Suppose few will Try to get on the Ballot this Way

   While a lawyer for the state warns that if Jim Bennett is allowed on the ballot, it will lead others to form parties in order to get on the special election ballot to succeed 3rd District congressman Jason Chaffetz, I have to wonder.
   Forming a third party gets you on the ballot, but running on a third party is hardly a way to win an election. Plus, should you ever want to go back to your old party -- as a candidate -- it isn't likely to welcome you back. There might come a day when that changes, but it won't be this year. Anyone bolting the Republicans in 2017 does so with the realization they are giving up the party that gives them the best odds of ever being elected to public office.


Jason Chaffetz did the United Utah Party a Favor

   Jason Chaffetz did the United Utah Party a favor by stepping down as Utah's 3rd District congressman, says Mark Russell.
   Russell, who joined the effort to form a new party at the second organizational meeting in, he says, February, notes that if it were a normal election year, the party would be taxed to come up with a full slate of candidates. That would be a taunting task for a party just getting off the ground.
   But, with a special election, it needs to come up with but one candidate. When you have not yet developed many resources, having to focus on just a single campaign is a blessing..

Friday, July 14, 2017

People should have the Right to Start Parties in Opposition

   In a court hearing on whether Jim Bennett and the United Utah Party should be placed on the ballot, assistant attorney general David Wolf warned the judge that if Bennett does get on the ballot, it could open the door for other candidates to gain last-minute access to the ballot.
  If you are the Republicans or the Democrats, that could be a bad thing. They don't want competition. Another candidate might emerge strong enough to threaten the two parties' stranglehold on elections. If you can keep them off the ballot, locking out any competition, you can preserve your stranglehold.
   People should be free to challenge the existing parties. They should have the right to start parties in opposition.

We Must Listen to the Laws of Economics to Lower Health Care Costs

 Do we want to have less expensive medical bills? The prices are not going to come down as long as there is someone who can step in to pay the bill regardless how high that price goes. Unfortunately, insurance and government are now playing the role of sugar daddies who can afford to pay whatever prices are charged, regardless how high. Prices are only going to drop if there is not a sugar daddy to foot the bill. If medical providers cannot bill large insurance companies and cannot bill the deep pockets of government, prices will drop. If medical providers are limited to getting their money from you and I, prices will come down. It is the law of supply and demand. If the supply of money drops and the demand for the service remains, it will force prices down.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Before we Solve Our Medical Crisis, We Should Consider our Economy

   I get ahead of myself. I worry what will become of our economy if we truly correct our health care industry.
   The health care industry accounts for more than 10 percent of our gross domestic product (in one article, I read that it is 16.9 percent). That represents a lot of jobs. How many health-care workers are there? Thirteen million?
   If we were to reduce the cost of health care -- which seems to me a thing we surely must do -- how many jobs would be lost? If you took my ideas on how to reduce costs, the medical insurance industry would be decimated. How many work in the insurance industry? Two-point-five million? (That is the whole of the industry, including auto insurance, etc.)
    Whenever you are going to displace that many people, you should go forward only if you are creating other jobs for them to land in.
    I suggest that correcting our health industry -- inasmuch as such correction is going to greatly affect the economy --- should only come after we have reconsidered what type of economy we want to have. I would have us have an economy that sidesteps depressions and recessions. And, noting that it is when people are unemployed and unfed that the economy is at its deepest low point, I would suggest that rather than seeking to keep our GNP high, and our stock markets high, and our rich rich, the first priority should be to keep everyone employed.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ethnic Cleansing has Parallels with the Deportation of Immigrants

 What if this is the definition of ethnic cleansing: The forced removal of a group from a territory by a more powerful group in order to remove the perceived undesirable effects of the smaller group from the larger group.
  There are some commonalities shared by ethnic cleansing and deportation of immigrants. Both seek to remove a group. Both see the group being removed as undesirable. Both remove the group by force. Both do not recognize that the smaller group has any right to live in the territory. Both have a fear of what the smaller group will do to the larger group if allowed to stay. Both often speak with contempt when speaking of the smaller group. Both see the territory as belonging to the larger group at the exclusion of the smaller group. Both see the smaller group as being intruders.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Turn the Rio Grande District into a Sight of People Helping People

   What if we were to take the problem of our homeless being an eyesore and turn it into something we could be proud of, something we were glad that visitors should see?
  The homeless district is the first image many see of our city. They arrive at the Greyhound, and as they are picked up and driven away, they pass through the streets of our homeless. Sometimes, they are stunned at how serious our problem is.
   Then, there are the businesses in the area. The homeless are a blight to them. The crime that comes with the homeless problem both chases away business and interrupts the personal safety of those who would practice business in the area.
   The crime problem has the city and state in a tizzy, trying to figure out a way to rein it in. Our leaders are seeking to move the homeless out of the Rio Grande area, not only because of the blight it presents to have the homeless roaming the streets, but because of that crime it attracts.
   Well, tonight I got wondering. What if instead of moving the homeless away -- because they reflect so poorly on our city -- what if we made a few change-ups, so the homeless were no longer something we didn't want people to see, no longer something we didn't want to inflict upon visitors to the downtown area?
   What if we were proud of how we took care of our homeless? What if you could not pass by the area without seeing someone reaching out to help them? Social workers? If we must have them, let them come right into the district, walking the streets and being there to help the poor right on the spot. Work? What if there were those who brought work to them, who put them to work right on the streets of the Rio Grande area, in full view of all the visitors who might pass by?
   Crime? It occurs to me, that if you have enough of a presence there -- if you have enough helpers there -- that is going to chase off a lot of the crime. But, go beyond that. What if we beefed up our police presence, too, so much that it would be hard to commit a crime for there always being an officer looking over your shoulder?
   The downtown area need not be a blight. We could turn it into a pleasant sight. What if acting troupes and entertainers came down to the area, performing right on the streets for the homeless? As the people got off the Greyhound to be whisked away, they would pass by the entertainers, seeing them entertain the homeless.
   I'm not sure but what there isn't something wonderful to be done with our homeless situation.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Let a People be a People

   So, you see I believe people should not generally be restricted by borders. If they want to move to Canada, Sweden or Australia, let them.
   I'll put an asterisk on Sweden, and explain that in about ten seconds.
   Move where you will, come and go as you choose, for liberty should include the freedom to move about.
   But, there should also be the right of people to separate themselves from others. If they become concerned the Swedish race will be lost if they let too many others in, let them limit those who come in.
   I do not believe in racial cleansing, where one people thinks it is superior to others, and therefore seeks to keep its bloodlines pure. When our Sweden friends feel this way, it would be better they not pursue pure blood lines by barring immigrants.
   But, if they simply want to keep Nordic bloodlines Nordic, not thinking they are better than anyone else, just wanting to be their own people, I find no fault with that.
   And, if a people wants to live apart, because of their culture, or because of their religion, let them.
   Ethnic cleansing? I do not believe in it. I do not believe in the forced removal of any group. Rather, if the group that would be separate sees a need to separate, let them be the people who move. Let them limit immigration, and if that is not enough to separate them, let them move to another location, but let them not persecute, belittle, destroy or deport any people that lives among them.

(The last portion of the blog was added 7/11/17 and 7/12/17.)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

These are the Disenfranchised, the Americans who are not 'Americans'

   These are the disenfranchised. They live in America, but they are not "Americans." These are the ones who work on American soil, contributing to the economy, but who are not granted status as Americans.
   They live here, work here, play here, spend their money here  . . . everything. Yet, we say they are not Americans. We disenfranchise them. We take their rights away. We don't let them vote. We speak of requiring voter I.D. cards so we can make sure they don't vote. We take great offense if they do vote. In the news today, we read of the Trump Commission wanting the states to transfer data bases to the White House on all voters. The idea I believe, is to search through the records and find the ones who are not "Americans." Such a big effort -- an effort like we have never seen before -- just to get at and make sure the disenfranchised remain the disenfranchised.
  If they live and breathe on American soil, they are residents. And, if an American is someone who lives in America, then, in that sense -- whatever you say to the contrary -- they are Americans. To say otherwise, is to disenfranchise them.
    I would remind you that there are certain rights that are unalienable. Government cannot take them from us -- or should not. If you do take these rights away, you are disenfranchising them. You can decide if the right to vote is one of the unalienable rights, but the right to exist, to come and go and live where you will, might well be among them.
   You can take their rights away, but that does not mean you are right to do so. Disenfranchise them if if you will, but realize that if you do so, you are taking it upon yourself to dictate to them what their unalienable rights will be. You are setting yourself up as the person who can deprive them of their rights, and saying you are perfectly happy to take them away.
   Do it in the name of a freedom-loving nation. There has never been such a contradiction.

United Utah Party Faces an Unfair Situation


  It is an unfair situation. If you want to become a new party, you must follow the rules established for you by the parties you will be competing against.
  Did you get that? The competition sets the rules for anyone seeking to compete against it. What if we did this in the business world? What if, in order to become an automaker, you had to comply with rules for an automotive start-up established by GM and Ford?
   I don't think GM and Ford would make it too easy on you.
   If this were in the business world, we'd easily see this is an unfair business practice. And, we'd be crying about how GM and Ford were being allowed to create rules so they could remain a monopoly.
 

Friday, July 7, 2017

In the Business World, We Would Call this an Unfair Business Practice

   Sometimes a lawsuit is the only answer. The Republican and Democratic parties are not going to change the laws to make them more equitable. So, about the only alternative is to take the case to court.
   The United Utah Party would like to be on the ballot come November's special election to replace Jason Chaffetz in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since they started their effort in May (I don't guess it started earlier than that), that would seem plenty of notice.
   Unfortunately, the law doesn't make it possible. By law, you must organize before Nov. 30 to be placed on the ballot the following November. Why such a restrictive law? It certainly prevents people from seeing a race and deciding they would like to field a candidate on something other than one of the two parties.
   In other words, if you are to run, you are funneled into running either as a Republican or Democrat.
   In the business world, we would call this an unfair business practice.

 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

More People Should be Locked Up for Threats of Violence

   Reading a story of how a killer issued a thinly veiled warning before killing a police officer, I suggest it is time to get more serious with our laws against threats.
   Threatening should land you in jail, if you are threatening violence or harm. Idle threats? Where do we draw the line? Can we toss everyone in jail who says they are going to kill someone? We'd all be in jail, you say.
    I do not know. I only know there are people who would still be alive if we enforced our laws better. And, it would be a good thing if people quit expressing such sentiments as, "I'm going to kill you." Perhaps, we can't and shouldn't lock up everyone who utters the expression, but we should lock up more than we do.
    And, we had better find out where to draw the line, lest more lives are wasted.

Trump's Comments Urge Russia to Come Our Way

  Spoken like a true leader. 
   "We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran, and to join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself," President Trump said, in a speech in Poland.

The Will to Fight is the Will to Win


The will to fight is the will to win.

If you have the will to fight, you have the will to take the punishment, the pain, and the pounding. Almost by definition, to fight means to give your best effort. And, if you give your best effort, if there is a win to be had, you will find it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I am a Patriot without Guns

   Guns = Patriotism, Patriotism = Guns.
   That is not my belief, but I wonder whether some people's version of patriotism is just this. They don't discuss or consider patriotism without guns being part of the equation.
   Now, it took guns and cannons and fighter jets to win our wars -- no doubt. I do not question whether guns have a role in patriotism. Rather, it is the ownership of guns by common citizens that I say does not in and off itself qualify you as a patriot.
   I find myself trying to write a song.
   
    "I am a patriot,
   "I am a patriot,
    "I am a patriot without guns."
 
    "None in my den,
  "None in my mancave,
    "None in my office,
  "And, none in the wall stache-stave."

    "No, no, no . . . 
  "I am a patriot without guns."
    "No, no, no . . .
  "I am a patriot without guns."
    "No, no no . . .
  "I am a patriot without guns."




Simple Measures could Sidestep Maybe 90 Percent of the Threats

  I hail the interestingly-sounding Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene Act of 2017, which was introduced in the Senate by Utah's Orrin Hatch and Massachusetts's Ed Markey. The bill would direct the establishment of best practices and good "hygiene" measures for computers.
   Simple things, like installing reputable antivirus software, updating the software, not opening unknown emails, backing up your computer, etc. It is suggested that 90 percent of the computer viruses could be avoided if we followed such simple measures.
   I continue to think we need to step up our efforts against cybercrime. I have learned that there is a department within the FBI tasked with fighting cybercrime, the Cyber Division, created in 2002. Is it doing enough? My feeling is that it is not. We still lack a police or investigative agency we can go to when hit by cybercrime, one where we cannot only file a report, but expect an investigation and have hope the criminals will be prosecuted.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Knee-High Concrete Barriers Would Reduce the Risk of Such Attacks

   When you can take away a criminal's weapon, you take it away. As I hear how a car sped down a sidewalk in Salt Lake City tonight, killing one and injuring at least six others, I wonder anew why we don't build knee-high concrete barriers along our busier sidewalks.
   We live in a copy-cat society. As word spreads of killings such as this, we are seeing more of them. If, however, we constructed barriers, it would take this weapon away from assailants.

Those from Mexico helped Me Celebrate the Fourth of July

   Last night as I drove past the labor camp in Paul, Idaho, a feeling surged over me of how these people were what America is about, and what patriotism is about.
   So, I returned. Even as I had passed the camp last night as I arrived in my hometown for the 4th of July, even so I passed back by it on my way back out of town tonight. I stopped, this time, looking for someone to talk to.
   And, I spotted a young couple, teenagers, sitting on the lawn. I got out of my car and approached them, and the brief conversation went something like this:
  "Are you from Mexico?" I asked.
  "I am," replied the male.
   "I just want to thank you, as my way of celebrating the Fourth of July, for coming to America and contributing to our economy," I said.
    America is a melting pot of immigrants. Somewhere back there, each of us has an ancestor who came to this country. Many, such as those in the Paul labor camp, are not well to do. They are workers, hard workers. Is there a more meaningful way of building a nation than through sweat and hard work? The workers of America are what makes it great, the simple, common folk.
   The Mini-Cassia area, where I grew up, has a large share of people from Mexico. We watched the parade while there, and a large number of those in it were Hispanic, some riding dancing horses, some marching for various causes.
    I sat next to others of them.
   All were welcome to me. I was grateful to be celebrating my Fourth with them, for they represent a lot of what is good about America.

   

Monday, July 3, 2017

Now We have Legislation We Don't need, and it's in all 50 States

 The finger of the the lobbyist is no where more evident than it is in the world of barbering. I think of this: that with way clippers are designed, with attachments that make it somewhat impossible to give an uneven cut, yet we somehow think it necessary to require everyone to have a license.
   How did that come about?
  You have to get 1500 hours (depending on the state) in a barbering school before you can take the state exams to get a license. All 50 states require licenses (though, I don't know if they all require barbering school).
   That's all 50 states. Nary a one thinks it too much regulation.
   The spread of communicable diseases is one of the reasons behind the call for licensing, yet I wonder if all the states makes it a law that the cutters must be disinfected after each use. The laws seem more aimed at training in how to cut than in training in how to avoid communicable diseases.
   Now, here's what I see: There are two beneficiaries of these laws, two parties that benefit from our requiring licensing: One, the barbering schools. Would they even exist if people were not required to attend them in order to become barbers? Two, the other beneficiary is the existing barbers. If it is difficult to get into barbering, there will be less competition, The existing barbers do not need to fear so much competition.
   I think it very clear, that when the licensing laws were created in each of the states, lobbyists for the barbers plead their cause before the various state legislatures. I think it very clear that when they got the legislation passed in one state, they went to the next, until they had achieved their goal in all 50 states.
 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Do We Fly to Pieces Like Glass When Things don't Fit Our Politics?


I finish a discussion and come over to my computer and open to the Facebook page of a group called LDS Prophecy and Gospel Discussions. The page's background has a quote from Joseph Smith that, "some . . . will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything is contrary to their traditions." I think of the discussion I just had. We discussed whether health care should be open to all. We considered whether having food to eat was a right. We considered which answers were socialism. If we give everyone health care, is that socialism? If we make sure everyone has food, is that socialism?
I concluded that giving everyone health care might well need socialism, if the free enterprise system is not providing it. If that is what it takes, I suggest we do it. If the alternative is letting people go to their death beds, we should provide them assistance, anyway, regardless if it is socialism. He who stops from helping someone because he fears it will be socialism is not thinking correctly. Do what is right, regardless the politics.
After my discussion ends, I open this page to read Joseph's thought, that people cannot handle things that are contrary to their traditions. Some of us are conservatives and some of us are liberals. I just wonder if we let our traditions (our politics) sometimes get in the way of our doing the right thing.
The fuller quote from Joseph Smith is, "I've tried . . . to get the minds of the saints to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them . . . will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything is contrary to their traditions."
I do not say this quote means we should have socialized medicine. I would like to think we do not need that. But, I do not think we should avoid socialized medicine just because it is socialized medicine. We should consider the issue on its own merits, without regard to which box it will fall in, and whether that box is socialism. To do otherwise is to let our traditions govern our decisions. It is flying to pieces as soon as anything is contrary to our traditions (our politics).

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A man on the run will fall 

quicker than a man 

who faces the fight.







Indexes: quotes

Friday, June 30, 2017

Utah could become the Only State to do this Right

   If the spread of communicable diseases is why licensing is required in all 50 states to barber, wouldn't the problem be better solved with legislation focusing in on just the problem, itself?
  It can take 1500 hours in barbering school before you qualify to sit for the state exams. How much of that is training in how to avoid communicable diseases? And, do you need that much training to avoid communicable diseases? If the solution is as simple as disinfecting the cutters after each use, isn't it much more practical just to have a law require just that: Clean the cutters after each use.
  And, you could have a law requiring the sale of barbers' cutters to be accompanied by the sale of blade disinfectants. In order to buy the clippers,  you would also need to buy a disinfectant kit. Plus, you could require a sheet of paper accompany each sale, explaining the dangers of lice and such being spread through unwise barbering practices.
   With all 50 states requiring licensing (I do not know how many require barbering school), Utah could become the first and only state to address this problem the reasonable way: Laws requiring the clippers to be cleaned instead of putting people through 1500 hours of barbering school that have little to do with communicable diseases.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Let the Deregulation of America Start in the Barbershop

   The deregulation of America could start in the barbershop. We could rebel, you know, against government regulation and over governance. We could say we've had enough. The better part of the populace, I would guess, agrees America is over regulated.
   Yet nothing is ever done to turn the tide of regulations.
   A war begins with a single bullet. On April 12, 1861, Lt. Henry S. Farley fired a single mortar round from Fort Johnson and the Civil War was on. Even so, if a state were to line up a list of regulations it wanted to take out, the barber's license could be the first to go.
   Did you know all 50 states require barber licenses? Oh, I guess I would want to study the issue a little bit more before I fully called for legalizing non-licensed barbering. (Doesn't the pledge of allegiance says something about, liberty, justice and the freedom to barber for all?) Off top, barbering does seem a good place to start the revolt against the government sticking its nose into places it doesn't need to.
   I bought a barber's clipper the other day. My thought was this: If the attachments dictate how far the blade is from the head when I cut, how could I go wrong? The cut is going to be even. It doesn't matter whether I have a barber's license or not, the cut is going to be even.
   A couple days later, I ran into someone cutting a friend's hair. I almost laughed thinking how what he was doing was illegal. Tell me -- because I truly do not know -- why we require barbers to be licensed?
   I've run for public office before, and might well run again. I wonder, if I were elected, if I would have the courage to file a bill deregulating the barbering industry. Oh, I would want to study it, first, to make sure there isn't good reason for licensing, but it does seem at least a lot of the regulation could be done away with. If we keep some in place, at least do away with some. Perhaps, say that if a barber is using the clippers and attachments, then no license is required.
   With barber's licenses required in all 50 states, I imagine filing a bill against licensing would stir up a lot of opposition. Would I have the courage to file, anyway? And, would I be doing in my own political career if I did so?
   Or, is this just common sense, waiting for someone to shout it out?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Our Best and Brightest Should be at Our Beck and Call

  That it was a private company that solved the Wannacry cyber attack gives me pause. Nothing wrong with that, except I wonder where the FBI and NSA were.
   I wonder how much of a team our government has in place to fight cyber crime. I wonder if they use a lot of contractors, or do the work directly. Using contractors might be okay. It might, though, leave you a step behind when a cyber crime breaks. If you have to go and sign a contractor up, you are not in position to immediately respond to the cyber crime.
   I don't know but what the National Security Agency and FBI don't have a large team on board, in house. But, I wonder. If the Wannacry attack was responded to by a private company, shouldn't a government agency been in position to do the same thing?
   We should have enough agents in place to fight cyber crime. How many do we have? Do we have a budget, or are the purse strings open to however much the FBI and NSA choose to spend?
   We should have our best and brightest working on cyber crime. Since the best are probably, indeed, in the employ of private companies, perhaps having them as contractors is the way to go. But, the contracts must be in place so that they can step in at a moment's notice.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We Should Sense the Urgency of Fighting Cyber Crime

   We should respond with the same urgency to cyber attacks as we did when the terrorists toppled the World Trade Center in the 9-11 attack.
   War on terrorism? It cannot be left in Afghanistan and Iraq. The next wave of terrorism is upon us, and it is hidden in our computers. The war against terrorism surely continues in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it is joined on a new front: the internet.
    And, we are unprepared.
    Do we even have an armed force, so to speak, to fight this war? Surely we do. We have cyber experts already engaged. But, do we have a force designated just for this, an agency established just to fight cyber crime?
   No. We don't.
    Call it the National Cyber Crimes Agency, the Federal Internet Defense Alliance, or whatever. I only know we should be rushing to organize, train, study and mobilize. We should be asking, How much will this cost, and how will we afford it? And, then, rushing to get the funds in place.
     When a cyber crime is committed today, we call law enforcement and they tell us there is nothing that can be done. That has got to stop. We have got to start fighting cyber crime. When criminals are unopposed, they run roughshod over the people. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Would that the Simple Man had a Place at the Table of Discussion

   As the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services came to town, I couldn't help but think how the visit could have gone, if only America was the America we'd like it to be.
   Why invite primarily just business leaders in to participate? Was that posturing for future campaign donations? Why not invite the general public? I would guess the answer, at least in part, is that they wanted to lock out protesters and naysayers.
   Let me tell you about the America I think would be wonderful. What if before Secretary Tom Price showed up to discuss the Better Care Reconciliation Act, his visit were well advertised? What if the public were invited? What if Price didn't have to fear protesters. Oh, do let those opposed to the plan come, and let them speak against the plan. But, in an America as the America we'd like it to be, let everyone be civil, exchanging ideas, not venom.
   What an opportunity this would have been: to hear the nation's top official on health care explain the plan, and take questions and advice. What if simple Americans sat at the table of government, their advice being as valued as that of the business leaders? What if we actually could sit down and discuss these things civilly with our leaders?
   I guess that's the America I wish we had.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Can the Republicans Afford to Write off 23 Million Voters?

   By winning the battle, they may lose the war. If Republicans do come up with a replacement for Obamacare, it might prove their undoing. A news article says a recent poll suggests only one in four Americans favor one of the proposals for replacement.
   That doesn't bode well if the idea is to earn votes in November. The Republicans are in a little bit of a pinch here. The vowed to get rid of Obamacare, but when it came time to do it, they were forced to realize that doing away with some of the things in Obamacare will be unpopular.
   An estimate 23 million people's insurance could be impacted. Can the Republicans afford to write off 23 million voters? And, I suppose there are other features in the proposed law that could be unpopular.
    The lesson to be learned is that once you give something to the public, it is a hard thing to take it away.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Government Places Money on the Table, and They Sweep it Up

Place money on a table, and someone will surely sweep it off.
Hospice, surely, does have a lot to be said for it. Comforting the dying is as about as honorable a thing as there is. And, a fair share of the care is nursing care, doing things for the patients such as washing them, helping them to the bathroom, and doing other such things to meet their needs. Both the love and the physical care are certainly wonderful things.
But, I wonder if we haven't created a program allowing people to plug into people's deaths as a way to make a buck. In 2014, Medicaid spent $15.1 million on hospice. That amounts to $11,393 for each hospice patient.
Who got the money? Did it go to the patients? Did it go to the families of the patients? Surely, some did, when family members were hospice workers. But, by far and away, the large share went to the hospice industry, an industry that makes a living off people's deaths.
I do not fault the workers. Bless them for what they do. But, I wonder about the industry.
I ran into a lady in the store tonight. She told me how her daughter had been on hospice for two-and-a-half years. I wondered how that had happened, since hospice is for those who are terminal and not expected to live but maybe six months. She answered that she is a hospice worker, herself, and that the program has evolved since its inception. Originally, only those whose lives were weeks from ending were allowed on the program.
But, that changed. Now, even after six months, you can get extensions.
Before I ran into this lady, I had already been thinking about writing on how hospice is an example of how, if you leave money on the table, someone will come along and sweep it up. If you have a government program where money is placed on the table for anyone who wants it, someone will sweep that money away.
Bless the hospice workers. Nothing is more honorable that comforting the dying. But, as for the industry itself, I have reservations. A record 1.65 million patients were on hospice in 2011. That was 2011. I can only imagine how the program has grown in the past six years.
Can we afford to have our government paying $12,000 for every projected death? Can we afford to do that when the money is going not to the families of the dying, but to corporations set up just to receive the money?
They see the money sitting on the table, and say, "We'll take that money. What do we have to do to qualify?"

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Republicans and Democrats set the Rules for their Competition

   Would we let GM and Ford set the rules for the creation of automobile companies seeking to compete against them? Then, why do we allow the Republicans and Democrats (most all legislators belong to one of the two parties) to set the rules for the creation of new political parties? If this were happening in the corporate world, we would call it an unfair business practice.
   I understand the Elections Office has ruled the United Utah Party does not qualify to be on the ballot for electing Jason Chaffetz's successor because, by law, new parties must organize about 11 months before an election.
    Such a burdensome rule. It clearly puts a dampener on creation of new parties. The supposed reasoning behind the law might be that it prevents a candidate from organizing a party just to get his name on the ballot.
   I would ask, what is so wrong if he or she does do that?
   Yes, I can see that if a candidate lost the nomination in convention, and he was free to form a new party and run on it, he might choose to do just that.
    But, I'm afraid I just don't see the wrong of it all. Yes, I can see that there just might be some high-profile deflections from the two parties and perhaps a proliferation of new parties. That wouldn't be good for the Republicans and Democrats, of course, but I don't see how it would harm the electorate or the public.
   Laws should serve the electorate and public, not the Republicans and Democrats. If monopolies are not always good in business, they are never good in politics.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Let Parties form Right up to the Moment the Ballot is Printed

   I'm told Utah law says a new political party must be formed all but a year before it fields candidates in an election. I have not seen this in the media, and it seems a large omission.
   If it is true, then the United Utah Party has no rightful claim to placing a candidate on the ballot in the upcoming election to replace Jason Chaffetz in the House of Representatives.
   Such a law seems a burden to justice, at least. Parties should be allowed to form much closer to the election. If the purpose of such a law is to prevent candidates from forming parties just to gain easy entrance on the ballot, it is a poor way to handle that situation. Most parties are not going to form just for that purpose. So, such a law unfairly burdens the great proportion of parties that might like to form.
   Why we must make parties jump through hoops and climb high ladders just to form is beyond me. I would say let them form right up to the moment the ballot is physically created. And, what then of the candidate who might form a party just to get his name on the ballot? Off top, I'd say, let him. If he can gather the 2,000 signatures needed to get his party registered, let him. It would be an avenue to the ballot available to all. So, no one would have an advantage because of this.
 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reopen the Watergate Investigation

   It doesn't need to be a long investigation, but reopen the Watergate investigation. We still don't know why the five or so burglars broke into the Democratic Party offices. Some of them are still alive. Call in as many of those involved from Watergate as are still alive, and ask them to come clean.
   It needn't be a long investigation. But, call them into a congressional hearing, and plea in the name of patriotism for them to come clean. Once they've all died, their secrets may well be lost. What is the saying, Dead men don't talk? The living years are when secrets can be revealed. We should call the participants in before they are all lost to their graves.
 


Monday, June 19, 2017

Do the Muscles of the Child and of the Elderly differ in this?

  I turned to Tom on the elliptical next to me. Maybe the muscle knows three conditions: contracted, expanded and relaxed, I said.
  I think of my grandson, he replied. He knows run, run, run and carry me.
  As I left the workout, I wondered if maybe Tom's answer didn't contain the reason as to why stiffness and lack of muscle use is associated with growing old. Run, run, run equates with expanded muscles and carry me is the equivalent of relaxed muscles. That leaves out contracted muscles. Does the child not have contracted muscles? Are contracted muscles the result of stress and pressure and wear,  things the child has yet to know?
   And, I wondered whether the old have relaxed muscles. If we picked one up while they slept, how fast would their limbs bend? Would their knees bend immediately and fully when we lifted them? Or, would there be some stiffness that would keep their legs from bending so quickly and completely?
  Does the child know contracted muscles at all? Does the elderly person know relaxed muscles? How often does an older person have expanded muscles?
  I wondered but what expanded muscles are not what we should seek, if we were searching for some fountain of youth extending our lives. Are expanded muscles, with them perhaps relaxing when we sleep or at other periods, to be associated with long life? I do not mean the expanded muscles of a weightlifter. Rather, I mean just muscles that have a little ballooning effect, just enough to make them productive.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

This is a Little Bit of a Scandal

Note: It is Monday, two days after I wrote this. Today, I learned the other side of the story. I must be going to bed right now, but will post in the next couple days. What I am learning alters my thoughts. At this point, I am thinking there is not the scandal I perceived. I need to look into it more, just the same, though. In a nutshell, the 30-day period might have nothing to do with it, but rather a law that says all new parties must register a year in advance of the election.

Blog wrote on Saturday:

   There's a little bit of a scandal here. The Elections Office should be facilitating the United Utah Party, not standing in its way. When Jim Bennett and the party have done all required to create a party and get on the ballot, and the Elections Office refuses to process the filings in good time, that is wrong. It is obstructing the very government process you were appointed to accommodate. If the officials are refusing to certify the party and Bennett's candidacy because it runs against the interests of the Republican Party, that makes it even worse. You don't use your public office to forward your own personal interests, or the interest of your party, at the expense of what you were appointed to do, and at the expense of what is best for the public. The Elections Office should do its job, and that is to certify all parties and candidates that qualify. The Elections Office is taking 30 days to certify the party simply because the law gives it 30 days, and election officials have chosen to use the full 30 days because they know that puts Bennett beyond the deadline for getting on the ballot. They could have looked at the paperwork presented the first day, saw that it was in order, and certified it. Wrong is wrong. What they are doing is wrong, and there should be an outcry demanding Bennett be placed on the ballot (as he qualified to be). Yes, what is happening qualifies as a little bit of a scandal.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Party that Allows You to Think on Your Own

   Many are moderates because all their views don't fit in one box. They think each issue through, on its merits, instead of signing on just because it's the party's position. So, almost by definition, a moderate party shouldn't dictate too many political stands. Moderates aren't locked into opinions fed them by others.
  I have often thought it strange that everyone in one group should align on issue after issue, the same people believing in climate change also believing in abortion. Climate change and abortion are not related. If you are thinking each issue through, you might agree with climate change but disagree with abortion. It is strange, indeed, then, that one group of people should agree on issue after issue after issue, and the other group take the opposite stand on issue after issue after issue. If people are thinking each issue through, they simply are not going to agree on everything.
   Forgive, but I think this proof that people aren't thinking each issue through on its merits. I think it is evidence enough that we generally have closed minds. We believe what someone else -- the party -- tells us, instead of coming to an opinion on our own. It gives cause to wonder, when you think of the term "sheeple," if most of us are not sheeple. We blindly follow the party line. I would like to think the new United Utah party will not be this way. I would like to think it will become not the party of the closed mind, but the party of the open mind.
   I would even suggest that as a possible slogan: "Not the party of the closed mind, but of the open mind."
   Politicians often get in trouble for changing their opinions, flip-floppers, we call them. This shouldn't be so. An intellectually honest person will change his or her opinion when evidence surfaces warranting the change. So, even when you come to an opinion, you should be open to change. The honest politician is not the one who refuses to "waffle," but the one who has the courage to do so. There is honesty and integrity in admitting you are wrong. We should not assign shame to it. It has been said, it takes a big man to admit he is wrong. If this is true, there are few big men in politics.
   So, if the United Utah wants to set itself apart from the other parties, I would suggest it can do so by being the party that thinks things through, rather than just answering to dogma.
   This, too, could be a possible motto: "Not the party of dogma, but of thinking."
   The United Utah Party? Let it be the party that allows you to have your own opinion, instead of telling you what to think.
 
 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Who is Parroting Who?

   "Turn a globe and point your finger anywhere, you will find American interest and interference there." -- Vladimir Putin, in discussing the accusation that Russia interfered in the U.S. election.
  I cannot help notice this argument has been forwarded by Trump supporters in the U.S.  Who is parroting who? Is Putin parroting the comments he has read from those in the U.S.? Or did the argument originate in Russia, from propaganda specialists there?
  I wonder if some talking points we here over here might have originated with the Russians, being fed to us by propaganda specialists who participate in letters to talk shows, etc. When the Intel report on Russian interference in our election said the influence was largely achieved by propaganda an disinformation, we wondered which news stories might be examples. Well, lately, listening to Putin, I have wondered if I haven't seen more than one example.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why Muzzle James Comey from being Open about His Own Affairs?

   So, we learn James Comey leaked contents of a memo he had written about a meeting with President Trump. I don't see the crime, nor the fault. He was in the meeting. He was a participant. If he wants to say what happened, let him. Why muzzle a man who would but be open with the public about his own affairs?
   What if President Trump recorded the conversation? Isn't the rule that just one of the participating parties must be aware of the recording to make it legal? That makes Trump's recording legal. But, perhaps by the same token, it makes what Comey did in revealing what took place as ethical as what Trump did by recording the conversation. Trump should not cry foul against Comey if he is playing much the same game.
 I am not a fan of governing behind closed doors. We should open up many of the closed meetings we do have. Does that go so far as to prevent the president and his FBI director from meeting  in private? Perhaps not. Still, if one of the participants wants to disclose what they discussed, as long as it doesn't endanger national security, let him.

Why was Jeremy Patterson not Arrested for his Threats?

   Simply making a threat of violence is an arrestable offense. I wonder if the Draper Police Department was aware of this when they were told of the threats against Memorez Rackley. It seems an immediate arrest of Jeremy Patterson was in order. It would have saved lives. One wonders why the police did not arrest Patterson for his threats.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Let Alex Jones Face Critical Scrutiny

  Megyn Kelly is under fire for her interview with Alex Jones, which is scheduled to air on "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly." Advertisers are pulling out. NBC is being pressured to drop the piece. Even Alex Jones doesn't want it to air.
  Jones is a conspiracy theorist. One of his theories is that Sandy Hook was staged. If I understand it correctly, parents mourning the deaths of their children were accused of being actors. Those wanting the piece pulled are outraged that Kelly is giving Jones a public forum.
   I say the piece should run.
   Not covering Jones is not going to make him go away. He has his "Infowars" show. His views are going to be out there whether Kelly and NBC run the interview or not. You can go to his site and sites friendly to him and get his views without much opposing view.
   Kelly is not such a believer. She calls his theory "revolting." She pushes back.
   If the theories of Jones are solid, let them be exposed to scrutiny from one of America's best journalists. These theories have a wide audience. And, if that audience is given no reason to disbelieve, it will only continue to grow. You don't debunk anything by refusing to discuss it. Looking the other way doesn't make something go away.
  So, as I said, if Jones's theories are valid, let them stand up to scrutiny. Truth doesn't run from reason. So, let Kelly reason with him.
   

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pictures on the Wall and Lifeguards on the Shore

   "I'm asking each of you to consider this as if you were considering it for the first time," the congressman said, as he skirted his eyes around the room of fellow lawmakers. "Abortion."
   He paused, then said. "Excuse me. I've asked for the lights to go out just for a short time." The lights then went out, and the face of a six-month unborn appeared on a large screen on one wall. The face lacked nothing. All the features of a newborn were there. 
   "Can we look at this and say it isn't a child?" the congressman asked. "Can we look at it and suppose it isn't living? Do we have any question whether it is a human?"
   He paused again. "Well, then. If we abort it, can we do so without killing it?" He paused again.
   "I think it is obvious," he said, and then paused but briefly before suggesting, "The unborn person before you is alive. If we are going to abort it, we are going to have to kill it."
   He paused again. The screen went black. Then, a second photo appeared. This one was from much earlier in the gestation, the unborn being but weeks old.
   "I give unto you the same child," the congressman said. "No, he would not be viable outside the womb. But, you can see the limbs. You can see the characteristics of a human. If you could place your ear right next to his chest, I don't know, you might even hear a heartbeat."
    He paused again.
    "Anyone want to take a chance that this is not yet alive?" This time, he gave a longer pause, letting the meaning of the question sink in. "Because, if it isn't alive, it becomes legal to abort it." 
   Another pause.
   "I don't think there is any one of you who knows for certain that that isn't a living being. If you are going to abort it, you are going to have to take a chance. To me, it looks every bit to a forming person." He paused just slightly. "I'm going to ask the same questions I asked when the face of the six-month old was on the screen. Can we look at this and say it isn't a child? Can we look at it and suppose it isn't living? This unborn might well be alive. If we are going to abort it, we are going to have to confess we might well be taking the life of another person."
   He paused. The lights went on.
   "We have a responsibility," he said. "We must do what we can. I'm introducing legislation to amend the Constitution. If we don't know whether that unborn is alive, we must save it. If the day comes we fully determine the unborn are not alive, perhaps then we can feel comfortable about aborting them. At this point, we are not that advanced on the subject. 
   "If these are alive, or if they stand a good chance of being alive, if they cannot speak for themselves but must rely on us, if we are the ones who must stand up for them, I want to be one who does speak up for them, who does stand up for them."
    He paused again.
    "Surely, you, also, want to help them."
   He paused.
   "Do you? Will you?"
   Another pause.
   "Together, we must do all we can. If we don't introduce a constitutional amendment, it won't get done. If it gets introduced but isn't ratified by enough states, so be it." He paused again. "But, we must try. If the lifeguard jumps in, but is unable to save a drowning person, that is tragic. But, if the lifeguard doesn't even jump in, doesn't even attempt to save the drowning person . . . "
   He paused yet again.
  "Each of us -- we cannot be such a lifeguard."
   The congressman then paused a final time, looking around the audience, as if to silently beg and implore.
   Then, he sat down.

Indexes: Stories, abortion

Sunday, June 11, 2017

As is the Wind, so are Our Testimonies

   Some of my readers may not be believers in Christ. Some might wonder why I would believe. As it is Sunday, and I often write on Sunday topics this day of the week, consider this scripture:
   "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)
   I love this scripture. It is not used much, but has a wonderful message. I believe the message I take from it is correct, anyway. The wind blows where it will, and we can hear it, but cannot say what brings it, what causes it. So it is with our testimonies. We believe, but there is no proof for what we believe.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Putin, Plants, and How to Spread Propaganda

  It is an argument we have heard from the start: There simply isn't any evidence of Russian interference in the U.S. election.  Tonight, I wonder if we could trace that argument to its origin, if we might not be surprised.
  A week or so ago, I thought myself rather perceptive. When the Intel Community had come out with their initial report on Russian involvement -- back while Obama was still in office -- they suggested a lot of the Russian involvement amounted to no more than disinformation and propaganda. A week or so ago, I wondered how Russia would go about it, if they were to plant propaganda in our media.
  And, about a week ago, I figured I had figured it out. The large news outlets these days have comment threads for their stories. You simply plug in under a screen name, and offer your opinion. More than just that, talk shows often read from letters their listeners send.
  So, if you are a Russian, a practitioner of the art of propaganda and disinformation, and you are seeking a way to influence, what ways are available to you? What ways are out there, that you might spread your influence without being spotted?
  If there are other ways, I'm not thinking of them. And, regardless if there are other ways, this is a convenient and easy way.
  So, certainly, it seems they would use it.
   Yesterday, I was reading a story about an interview with Vladimir Putin that took place a week ago on NBC's Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly. I was a little shocked to read Putin saying,  "I haven't seen, even once, any direct proof of Russian interference in the presidential election in the United States." Although this is the first I've heard him say this, the news article suggested he has used the argument repeatedly in the past. 
  I was shocked because the comment is so similar to the argument I've been hearing all along, right from the start. And, I was taken back because I realized it might be a reflection that what I theorized about how the Russians go about spreading propaganda might well be accurate. 
  It is a strange the way Putin presents his argument. "I haven't seen, even once, any direct proof of Russian interference." He speaks as if he were an observer, not a participant, and as if he were weighing, himself, whether "the Russians" did it. 
  He speaks from the same perspective he would speak from if he were one of his plants, offering an online comment. 
   He probably has operatives doing the work, and doesn't do it, himself. And, if he does, he surely wouldn't be so careless. But one wonders what would happen if the FBI did trace the online comments back to their sources, and found some coming from no less than Putin's own computer.

Friday, June 9, 2017

'We are not a Nation that Debates Issues' -- David Koch

 "We are not a nation that debates issues. We vote on candidates' personalities." -- David Koch
  I do not fully agree with Koch. In some ways, it seems we debate issues as well as any nation. We debate guns, and abortion, and climate control. We even debate the Koch Brothers. 
  But, given that, I do  long for us to be a nation that debates open-mindedly, a nation whose people debate to discover the truth, a nation that discusses things to sort out the facts and settle on the truth, a nation that debates to reach a consensus, an agreement, with one side yielding to the other when truth is found.
  We are not that nation. In that context, as Koch says, "We are not a nation that debates the issues." We don't seek the truth. We assume we already have it, and we each use our version to bash the other.
   Wish, instead, we were seekers of truth, lovers of truth wherever it might to be found. Wish we ascribed to the truth whether found on the right or on the left. If we were such a people, the right and the left might cease to exist. We would mold together, as the motto suggests, one nation under God. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Like a Frog in a Pot, They Stay in While the Temperature Rises

Bless those whose opinion falls on the other side concerning James Comey's testimony. Yes, I can see some logic in what they believe. But, I confess, for the most part, I do not understand how they can believe as they do. A quote from George Orwell is pertinent. "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." To me, they do seem to be struggling with what should be clear as day.
To me, Donald Trump has committed obstruction of justice, plain and simple.
I think of the story of the flog in a pot of water. The water is turned up slowly and the frog doesn't realize it until it is too late. Many signed on with Trump long ago. As the evidence has mounted against him, they've stayed in the pot. The temperature is rising, but they won't get out.

Indexes: James Comey, Donald Trump, Russian investigation

How it is not Obstruction of Justice, I do not Understand

   Obviously, many agree with the other side of the argument, and perhaps I can understand some of their reasoning. But, I confess, to me it seems an open-and-closed case of obstruction of justice. How is this not obstruction of justice: Your boss calls you in and discusses whether you are investigating him. He extracts from you an assertion that you are not. He asks if you want to stay on as head of the FBI. Now, since your term as director is for 10 years and it is years from over, that is not a natural question to be asking. Then, just after asking that, your boss asks you to pledge loyalty to him. How such an appeal is not to be considered a veiled threat of, "If you investigate me, I'll fire you," I do not understand. How that is not to be considered obstruction of justice, I do not understand.

Indexes: James Comey, Donald Trump, Russian investigation

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Obstruction of Justice, Clearly

   Many hold the other opinion, that this was not obstruction of justice. Some will point to the fact James Comey said he did not feel influenced. If we was not influenced, there was no obstruction of justice, they will say.
   That opinion is worthy, though it differs from mine. I see what happened -- if it happened as Comey suggests -- as clearly obstruction of justice.
    So, you are the boss of the man conducting an investigation. You have power to fire him. You ask him if he wants to remain on as head of the FBI, then you say you need and expect his loyalty.
   Veiled threat? It is barely veiled, if at all. The message is clear: You don't touch me with this investigation, or you're fired.
   To all those who feel differently, your opinion is fine with me. I see the reasoning behind it. But that makes me no less vehement in my opinion. With me, it is clearly obstruction of justice. You don't use your power as president to block an investigation against yourself. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hidden in the Story on Reality Winner is Evidence of Hacking

  There's something hidden in a story that broke the last couple days.
   Way back, the thought was that while the Russians might have influenced the election, they didn't hack the votes. I remember stories saying no one was saying they actually changed the votes.
   Then comes Vladimir Putin saying Russians patriots, not the Russian government, itself, might have "hacked" the election. He perhaps was referring to things other than vote-changing, but that word "hacking" sure does seem to belong more to vote changing than to influence peddling.
   You hack election machines, not people's opinions.
   And, now this woman who was arrested for leaking information. Reality Winner, is her name.  The New York Times says the information she released included a description of Russian intelligence operatives cyberattacking a company that sells voter registration-related software and also cyberattacking 122 local election officials.
  That would only be done if you had designs on changing the votes, themselves. It doesn't mean the effort to change the votes was successful, or even carried out.
   But, it surely reveals that you had designs on changing the vote totals. Somehow, it seems this should be bigger news. Most news outlets, I believe, are not even including reference to this cyberattacking of those working with voting machines.
   Surely this is bigger news. Perhaps a headline saying, "New Evidence Emerges that Election Machinery was Targeted."
   I don't know. I do know that those who didn't want votes recounted suggested there shouldn't be such a recount because there was no evidence of tinkering. Here's your evidence.

You throw Everyone a Gun, and These will get them as Well

   Some suggest more people should carry guns and there would be less crime.
   Fewer mass murders.
   I disagree. If you throw everybody a gun, some of the guns will fall into hands that you don't want having them. Passing everybody a gun means not just the protectors and the good citizens and good guys get them.
   So do those who might be inclined to wrongly use them. They fall into their hands, as well. No, I'm not talking the hardened criminals who are going to have guns, regardless. I'm talking about those who are decent enough, but who might have a fit of anger, who would get through that fit well enough without a gun . . .
   But, who grab it and use it if it is there.
   When you throw everybody a gun, they get them, as well. And, therein lies the problem with encouraging everyone to own or pack a weapon.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Gun Reaps Greater Death than the Knife

   Some point to the fact that guns weren't used in the London killings as evidence that if you take guns away, the criminal will simply find another weapon to use.
   I agree.
   But, would go a step further. If guns had not been effectively banned in England in 1996, perhaps they would be used in more mass killings today. By banning the gun, Britain took away a weapon that can kill a lot of people quickly.
   Knives are not as effective. The mass murderers are being relegated to a weapon that reaps fewer deaths. If the London thugs had had easier access to guns, would they have chosen to use them? And, would we be looking at more people having been killed?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Is Muscle Rejuvenation a key to Living Longer?

   I've though a lot about stiff muscles in recent weeks. I've noticed that old people, of course, have them. Sometimes, it seems the person gets stiffer and stiffer, more bed-ridden and more bed-ridden, and then he or she dies. Is the stiffness and inability to use the muscles associated with death? It certainly seems so. If we could figure out how to relieve the stiffness, how to make it go away, would we extend life? Perhaps.
  I've also noticed, of course, that athletes -- those who work out -- acquire stiffness. You break the muscles down, or whatever, and they become stiff. Are these two situations related? Is the stiffness an elderly person experiences the same that an athlete experiences? Or, are they related, but just a little different?
   If we want to live longer lives, we should want to know.
   Maybe the stiffness the old person experiences is the same thing: muscle breakdown. Only with old age, the muscle does not rejuvenate, does not rebuild. What is it that causes rebuild? Is it the exercise, itself? The old person does not exercise, yet becomes stiff, anyway. Why? Or, is it that the old person has a lesser capacity for exercise, and thus experiences the muscle breakdown while doing a minimum amount, even so little that you don't even suppose they are exercising?
   Sometimes, if an athlete does not stretch, but just breaks into a fast run without warming up, he or she pulls a muscle. Is it much the same with what happens to the elderly? Do they not have their muscles "warmed up" before they start to use them? Is this where we are going wrong? If we could just figure out how to keep their muscles prepped for the day's activities, would we extend their lives?
   I remember being at a care center, and noticing how therapy called for them to take walks down the hall, and I wondered at how they got them out of bed without first stretching their muscles. They just plopped them on their feet to start walking with no concern for whether the muscles were ready for the walk. My own experience is that sometimes -- not always, but sometimes -- the muscles will be jammed if you do not stretch a little first. If they are jammed, you will not get the full benefit of exercise and might even do harm, by further jamming them
   This "jamming" feeling might be different than stiffness brought on by muscle breakdown.
   Does exercise lead to regeneration? If we want to rejuvenate the muscles in older people, should we be applying the same principles used by athletes in rebuilding their muscles? Perhaps. And that would mean exercise -- proper exercise -- is the/an answer.
  I open a webpage that speaks of muscle growth, or what I am calling rejuvenation. It says, you must put a greater load on the muscles than what they are used to if you care going to have them develop. So, I wonder what level of exercise would spur growth in the elderly? Is walking up and down the halls going to be a great enough level of increase to spur muscle development? Or, will we need to do better than that?
   The website says you also need muscle damage in order to have muscle growth. Does walking up and down the hallway provide enough exercise that you damage muscles, or must we go beyond that?
   I think we must also consider that the elderly might not be capable of having these forms of muscle growth. Exercise might work for athletes, but it might not for the elderly. If so, is there anything we can change, so that they might, once again in their lives, be capable of muscle rejuvenation? Because, if there is, we might be finding a way to extend the life of the human body.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Could this be how Disinformation is Planted in Our News?

  "We'll know we are successful when everything the Americans believe is a lie." That's a rework of a quote attributed to former CIA Director William Casey.
   But, in light of news just months ago that the Russians tried to influence our election with disinformation and propaganda, I find myself wondering if they also try to mess with our news as a practice. Did they just do it that one time, or was that one time just a slice of the pie?
   I wonder how they would influence us? The commentators seem to be arriving at their opinions without any outside influence. But, perhaps they have minor media sites that they read. Or, they have audience members who write them regularly, whose thoughts they then parrot. If so, you would simply plug yourself in as someone responding to their program, and offer up the disinformation, and wait for the commentators to take up the bait.
   Who would you go after? Fox News? MSNBC? I'd say, you shoot at both sides.
   As I think about this, I would not be surprised at all if this is happening, and if this is a key way disinformation is being planted in our news world. And, if the Russians did establish plants like this is our media, would they pull them out just because the election was over? It makes sense, if you have plants in the media, you keep on using them.
   And, we'll know they're successful when everything we believe is a lie.