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.

An Economy of One

   It could be argued the jobs you and I have would be available to someone else if we were deported. If one person works, he is always "taking" the job from someone else.   
  So, let's find reason for not liking you and I, and kick us out, and the economy will improve. . . . I'm sorry, I don't find this way of thinking to be sound logic.   
  Those who argue immigrants are taking jobs from others might be best suited in an economy of one. Then, no one could take their job from them.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

For Truth to Win, it Must be Heard

   Perhaps the greatest good coming out of President Trump's Paris Accord decision is that it elevates the national discussion on climate change.
   That's good, for in order for truth to win, it must be heard. The more we discuss climate change, the more we will learn about it. And, the more we learn, the quicker people will realize it is real, and we do, indeed, need to be taking steps against it.

Don't Criminalize Work, nor Those Who Come to Work

  Work should not be illegal. The work ethic should not be criminalized, but encouraged. Let the working class come to America. If we really feel we must send someone packing back to the country they came from, let's not let it be these. Let's try to hold on to these, the ones who just want to work. Who would think America would criminalize such a thing? Often they are the poor, seeking no more than an honest-day's work. Instead of cutting these people off, wouldn't we be better served to screen out someone else? Maybe go after the dishonest, or those who come in with criminal records, or those who commit crimes when they get here, or those who come just seeking to get on our welfare programs?

   But, those who come in search of a better life, wanting no more than to work? Are these the people we would criminalize?