The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson

Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).

Chirps (Some Would Say Rants)

Paragraph sized, succinct, and pithy comments on a subject that have piqued my interest or curiosity, or my ire or indignation,
as well as announcements of new or updated Articles that I have written.

Table of Contents

It’s Complicated

How often have we heard someone state “It’s Complicated” when responding in a political debate? Yes, it can be complicated when dealing with the cause and effect of an issue. But, often, the core issue of the debate is not complicated. It is the core issues that I try to address in these Chirps. When you strip away the Deflections and the “Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors” it is often not that complicated. I point out that many who argue a political issue resort to Deflections, Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors as a tactic to obscuring people's understanding, leaving them baffled or bewildered and susceptible to accepting their conclusions. It is most often done by inserting oblique facts, nonsequiturs, exceptions to the rule, and the perfect vs. the practical. You should always go to the core issue of the argument and examine its meaning. When engaging in a debate blow away the Deflections, Obfuscations, Smoke, and Mirrors and get to the core issue. Determine the core issue, the facts and truths of the issue, then debate the cause and effect and the actions to be taken.

Stating The Obvious and Common Sense

Many would say that these Chirps are “stating the obvious” or just “common sense”. Unfortunately, in today's society, the obvious has become obscured and common sense is not so common. When I speak of common sense I do so as stated in my “Common Sense” observation which I would encourage you to read. The obvious is often (deliberately) obscured in order to achieve a political goal through the means of “Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors” as I stated in another observation which I would also encourage you to read. Therefore, I think that I need to Chirp by “stating the obvious” and utilizing “common sense”.

Arguing from Ignorance

When I speak of ignorance it is not in a pejorative sense. I mean a lack of knowledge, or incomplete knowledge, or just plain incorrect knowledge. When I speak of argumentation, I mean the logical structure of an argument: a statement or observation, the premises, and the conclusion. This includes the deductive or inductive reasoning of the argument. I also include the identification of logical fallacies and cognitive biases incorporated into the argument as outlined in my “Reasoning” section of my “Dialog and Debate” observation. There are many different ways that an argument can be improper. Statements or observation can be incorrect or misleading, premises can be incorrect or missing, and consequently, the conclusion would be wrong. These and many other things may make the conclusion of an argument wrong. Sometimes, even in the statements, observations, or premises are incorrect the conclusion may be right. This is usually due to blind luck and falls under the category that “a stuck clock is right twice a day”. You should keep this in mind when reviewing an argument, or when you are stating an argument. The Chirps on this web page are too short for a substantive argument. When I think it necessary to elaborate, I will direct you to an article that has a better argument.

Criticism vs. Critique

The only acceptable method of public discourse is disagreement - to be of different opinions. If you are in disagreement with someone you should be cognizant that people of good character can and often disagree with each other. The method of their disagreement is very important to achieve civil discourse. There are two ways you can disagree with someone; by criticizing their opinions or beliefs or critiquing their opinions or beliefs.

  • Criticism - Disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings.
  • Critique - A serious examination and judgment of something.

Most people, and most commentators have forgotten the difference between Criticism and Critique. This has led to the hyper-partisanship in today's society. In a civil society critiquing a viewpoint or policy position should be encouraged. This will often allow for a fuller consideration of the issues, and perhaps a better viewpoint or policy position without invoking hyper-partisanship. We can expect that partisanship will often occur, as people of good character can and often disagree with each other. Criticizing a viewpoint or policy position will often lead to hostility, rancor, and enmity, which results in the breakdown of civil discourse and hyper-partisanship. It is fine to criticize someone for their bad or destructive behavior, but it is best to critique them for their opinions or words. We would all do better if we remember to critique someone, rather than criticize someone.

My Approach

I have often said that English is my second language, while thinking is my first language. Those that know me, and my writing, know that my second language (English) can be very poor in both spelling and grammar (thank God for computer spell checkers, thesaurus, and grammar checks), and I struggle to write anything. I am a very organized and logical person, and I attempt to keep my writing organized and logical. I attempt to write clearly, concisely, completely, confidently, and understandably. As such, I hope that these articles are readable to all with a high school education.

As regards to my debating these issues, I would direct you to my Chip “Form Over Substance” as to my reluctance to engage in debate on these subjects. Essentially, I  believe that I am a poor debater. It is for this reason that I often do not engage in debates. I do, however, engage in discussions in which both sides have ample time to challenge facts and figures and effectually explain their arguments. 

Comments, Concerns, Critiques, or Suggestions

If you have any comments, concerns, critiques, or suggestions I can be reached at I will review reasoned and intellectual correspondence (Critiques not Criticisms), and it is possible that I can change my mind, or at least update the contents of these articles. This is why these articles are dated. Whenever I make a change to these articles they will be re-dated. So check back and see if any articles have been updated (or perhaps I shall add articles).

10/14/19 Doing Nothing IllegalTOC

How often have you heard the phrase that someone has “Done Nothing Illegal”? I applaud those who have done nothing illegal. But life is more than legal versus illegal. One can live a perfectly legal life and at the same time one can live an immoral and unethical life. This is because the law can only deal with actions that cause direct harm to someone or society. There are many instances, however, where legal activities are clearly unethical or immoral. And the law cannot deal with unethical or immoral actions as they often do not cause direct harm, and they are notoriously difficult to define and codify.

The question is then how we are to judge immoral or unethical actions. After all, who are you to judge the actions of others. The answers to these questions in another Article of mine “Who are you to judge?”. Using the standards in this article It is perfectly fine to judge the actions of others.

A good example of this is the actions of Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine and China. While these actions may or may not be illegal, they are clearly unethical. Hunter Biden brought no knowledge, experience, or capabilities to the Ukrainian and Chinese businesses that hired him. All he brought was his familial relationship with his father, a powerful and influential political personage. As such, he did not earn what he obtained, but simply latched on his connection to his father. It is clearly unethical for Hunter Biden to profit simply through a political connection, as it was unethical for Joe Biden to allow his son to profit from his political influence. It is for this unethical activity that Joe and Hunter Biden should be judged by the American people. As to its legality or illegality it is the responsibility of the Justice Department to determine what should or should not be done under the law.

10/13/19 Math (and statistical mathematics) is More than NumbersTOC

On the surface, math may seem like it's all about numbers and formulas. However, this versatile subject is about much more than just counting, adding, and subtracting. Discover why math is more than numbers and find out how it contributes to the development of valuable skills in problem solving, critical thinking, language, and more. My new Article  "Math (and statistical mathematics) is More than Numbers" explores this subject.

Mathematics (and statistical mathematics) cannot solve every problem. Some problems have so many constants and variables as to be unsolvable. And as one of Murphy’s Laws state; Variables won't, constants aren't. There is also the problem of what we know, what we don’t know, and what we don’t know that we don’t know as discussed in my Article “A Perspective on Statistics and Public Polling”. Therefore, keep in mind when someone (even an expert) utilizes mathematics or statistics they are more probably wrong than they are probably right, especially in the use of math or statistics in regard to social policy (for more about utilizing statistics within social policy I would recommend the book “Discrimination and Disparities” by Thomas Sowell).

10/09/19 Is There Intelligent Life Out There? TOC

I have extracted a section from a previous Science Article and created a new Science Article on the subject "Intelligent Life in the Universe". I would encourage you to read this article as this issue is not as simple as it appears at first glance.

10/06/19 Elder HumorTOC

Having recently joined the ranks of senior citizenship and the retired I have posted some of my favorite "Elder Humor". Read and weep, but remember that getting older can be hell but the alternative is worse.

10/04/19 ImpeachmentTOC

I have posted a new Article on "Impeachment" which is my thoughts on Impeachment, and how it relates to President Clinton and President Trump.

10/03/19 A touch of Computer HumorTOC

I have just posted some new humor "Computer One Liners" and "Computer Humor". As a retired computer consultant I can attest to the drollness and veracity of this humor.

09/25/19 The Biggest Falsehoods in AmericanTOC

 I have posted a new Article on “The Biggest Falsehoods in American” which examines the issues that I believe are misrepresented, misreported, and misunderstood in America. In alphabetical order they are:

  • Abortion is a Woman’s Choice
  • Alcohol & Drug Addiction is a Disease
  • Climate Change will Destroy the Earth
  • Equal Pay for Equal Work.
  • Government Can Solve Social Problems
  • Gun Control Will Reduce Gun Violence
  • Marijuana Usage is Mostly Harmless
  • Racism is Prevalent
  • Sexual Harassment is Prevalent
  • Socialism is Acceptable

To solve these problems requires that we understand the true nature of these problems. Unfortunately, because of the misinformation on these problems this is not possible. Politicians and activist are more interested in scoring political points, along with other motivations, that interfere with our understanding. Let us all begin to understand the true nature of these problems so that we can work together on solving these problems.

09/23/19 Indoctrination versus EducationTOC

I have posted a new Article "Indoctrination versus Education" which is an examination of one of the biggest failures in our educational system. The failure to educate our youth to become knowledgeable, intelligent, and reasonable on social, economic, or political issues. Issues such as Climate Change, Gun Control, Racism, Social Justice, etc. in which they are Indoctrinated not Educated. Read and weep for this failure.

For more of my thoughts on Education I would direct you to my Article "Public Education".

09/21/19 Witty Quotes About Science and Math TopicsTOC

I have just posted some new humor on "Witty Quotes About Science and Math Topics". Check them out and tickle your funny bode.

09/19/19 HumorTOC

The importance of humor cannot be understated. For humor provides the ability to laugh at yourself and with others. An ability that is cathartic for yourself and society. When we laugh together, we can discuss the issues and concerns of society in a more harmonious manner. Therefore, I have created a new section "Humor" on my website to tickle your funny bone.

09/19/19 A Just Government and a Just SocietyTOC

A Just Government and a Just Society is a new Article I have posted. The question of the role of government and society, and what constitutes a just government and society, has bedeviled mankind for millennia. This article examines what constitutes a Just Government and a Just Society.

09/18/19 Democrat Party SchemingTOC

In my Chirp “The Creed of Progressives and Leftists” I postulated the motives of Progressives and Leftists – “The Creed of Progressives and Leftists is that as they are more intelligent, better educated, and morally superior they are, of course, always correct. To oppose them not only makes you wrong, but it also means that you are evil. “. As the Democratic Party has become a party of Progressives and Leftists, they have adopted this creed. This adoption is readily apparent, to any objective observer, of the current Democratic presidential candidates’ positions and policies. My other Chirp “That’s Not an Ideology, That’s a Theology” points out that their political ideology has morphed into a theology.

As such, I believe that the Democratic Party has adopted the following scheme to achieve its goals:

  1. Obtain and Retain Power through all means possible.
  2. Use the Power for the purposes of Governmental Control of America.
  3. Suppress All Opposition to Their Power.

And they are willing to accomplish their goals via unconstitutional means and without respect to the “The Rule of Law” for governmental actions and “The Rule of Law in Non-Judicial Proceedings” for societal actions. They also do not respect Human Rights as I have stated in my article “The Underlying Meaning of the Bill of Rights”.

Therefore, those of us who believe in Human Rights and the Constitution must oppose the words and deeds of the current Democrat Party and its presidential candidates if we are to remain a country of “Freedom and Liberty” and “Justice for All”.

09/17/19 IntelligentsiaTOC

I do not expect the Intelligentsia to be very intelligent, except perhaps, in their own area of expertise. For when they venture outside their expertise they are often as ignorant as most of us. Therefore, be very cautious when an intelligent person expresses their opinion on a subject on which they have no expertise. And remember, even within their expertise they can often be ignorant of all of the facts leading to a conclusion, as well as their “Reasoning” being faulty. After all, they could just as well be wrong.

09/14/19 Glass Houses and Consensus in ScienceTOC

The Proverb “People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones” should always be remembered during any debate or discussion, especially in Science discussions.And scientific consensus can lead you astray, as it has been wrong in the past and will continue to be wrong as new knowledge is obtained. My Science article "Glass Houses and Consensus in Science" examines these issue utilizing the question of Intelligent Life in Our Universe.

09/10/19 Benjamin FranklinTOC

A few years back my best friend (now deceased) and manager of the cigar lounge that I frequented sat next to me in the empty (except for myself) lounge and inquired that as I knew much about Benjamin Franklin would I tell him something about Franklin. I spent the next thirty to forty minutes telling him Benjamin Franklin stories. At the end of my stories, I inquired “So, what did you learn about Benjamin Franklin?”. He replied, “I learned never to ask you again about Benjamin Franklin!”. In his memory I have created a History article "The Life and Contributions of Benjamin Franklin".  You may have not asked for it, but here it is anyway.

09/07/19 Form Over SubstanceTOC

In today’s political “debates”, especially on television, there is a tendency to elevate form over substance, in that the content of the debate is often overshadowed by the style of the debater. The gotcha moments, the zingers, and the pithy statements are added up, and the person who had the most of these items is often seen as the winner of the debate. This is often due to the time constraints of the debate, as most debate is done within limited time segments. First-class thoughts require more time to explain than is available in these segments. As a result, these debates shed more heat than light on the topic (as in my Observation “Light vs Heat”), and these debates fail to enlighten the topic being debated.

A good debater requires facts and figures to be available at a moment’s notice to counter their opponent. A good thinker, however, often relies on thorough facts and figures without logical fallacies and cognitive biases which are more difficult to recollect and/or explain. This puts the good thinker at a disadvantage to a good debater. Often the facts and figures of both sides need to be challenged, as they may be incorrect or incomplete, and possibly contain logical fallacies and cognitive biases (as explained in my Observation “Reasoning”). As there is usually insufficient time to challenge these facts and figures the viewer may be misled to a wrong conclusion due to a lack of challenge time.

A great debater is both a first-class thinker and a first-class debater, but these individuals are few and far between. A good thinker may not be a good debater, and a good debater my not be a good thinker. In this situation, the debater is often seen as the “winner’ of the debate even though their argument may be defective or without merit. Meanwhile, the good thinkers’ argument is largely ignored as there is insufficient time to be effectual.

I am, myself, afflicted with this problem as I believe I have good thoughts, but I also believe that I am a poor debater. It is for this reason that I often do not engage in debates. I do, however, engage in discussions in which both sides have ample time to challenge facts and figures and effectually explain their arguments. The other thing I intensely dislike about today’s political “debates” is the interruption and/or shouting down of an opponent to cut off the debate, as well as the utilization, by many, of the tactic of “Demonize, Denigrate, Disparage“ and “Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors”. For these reasons, I am loath to engage in debates but willing to engage in discussions.

Please note – For a more thorough examination of today’s political discourse I would direct you to my Observation “Political Discourse”.

09/06/19 That’s Not an Ideology, That’s a TheologyTOC

In my Chirp “The Creed of Progressives and Leftists”, as rephrased below, I have stated what I believe is the views that most Progressives and Leftist have concerning the people who do not agree with them:

The Creed of Progressives and Leftists is that as they are more intelligent, better educated, and morally superior they are, of course, always correct. To oppose them not only makes you wrong, but it also means that you are an untoward person. And as they are always morally decent those who oppose them must be morally indecent. And being untoward and indecent (and perhaps evil) the opponents of Progressives and Leftists need to be silenced, driven from the public square and public forums, their livelihoods or careers threatened through doxing, economic boycotts, or blacklists, and they are not to be allowed to hold any positions of social, economic, or governmental power. They also believe that the private and family lives of their opponents may be intimidated or menaced by physical violence, if not actual violence. Progressives and Leftists believe that to “Demonize, Denigrate, or Disparage” their opponents are the primary and acceptable means to accomplish this, along with other tactics that I have outlined In my Article on the “Divisiveness in America”.

When you are self-righteous and believe that you have the only correct opinions, and others must be subservient to your ideology, you no longer have an ideology but a theology. A Theology of:

  • Economic class warfare,
  • Identity politics,
  • Abortion rights,
  • Free healthcare,
  • Free college,
  • Open borders,
  • Climate change catastrophe and hostility to fossil fuels,
  • Increased taxes,
  • Increased government programs and regulations,
  • Appeasement to foes of America,
  • Hostility toward the Israeli democracy, and a
  • Clampdown on free speech and firearms restrictions.

A theology that cannot be criticized nor disputed, nor acknowledge contravening information or facts. Even within their own ranks you must conform to their theology or be ostracized. They also believe that the “Natural (Bill of) Rights” of their opponents may be violated to achieve their goals.

By their words and actions their theology does not allow for the acceptance of other viewpoints, and indeed the suppression of other viewpoints, which allows for the violation of the Natural Rights of all people. For this reason alone, their theology must be rejected.

09/02/19 A New American RevolutionTOC

In several of my Chirps and Articles, I have mentioned that I fear we may be headed into a new American revolution. A new revolution because of the violation of the “Natural (Bill of) Rights” and the “Divisiveness in America”, as well as the issues discussed in many of my Chips. My main fear is that we are beginning to seriously violate the Constitution, and more specifically the Bill of Rights, in today's modern society. For more of my thoughts on these violations I would direct you to my Observation “A New Declaration of Independence”. I have also proposed  “A New U.S. Constitution” that I believe addresses and corrects these issues.

09/01/19 A Red Flag AbuseTOC

A former Marine, Shane Kohfield, 32, who said at a protest that he would “slaughter” Antifa members in self-defense if attacked, recently had his five weapons confiscated by the FBI. The temporary seizure came through the use of Oregon’s “Red Flag” law, which allows law enforcement agencies and family members to seek a court order to have weapons taken away from an individual viewed as potentially violent. The former Marine was not charged with any crime but surrendered five guns. He was quoted as saying:

“If Antifa gets to the point where they start killing us, I’m going to kill them next," Kohfield told a crowd, according to The Oregonian. “I’d slaughter them, and I have a detailed plan on how I would wipe out Antifa.”

This is a perfect example of why the “Red Flag” laws are Unconstitutional. Unconstitutional in it violates both the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the Constitution. In effect, he said that if someone is going to kill him then he will kill them first, and he has every right to say this and to do this. He has the free speech right (1st Amendment) to declare his intentions in the event of his life being threatened, and the right to protect himself from a violent attack by keeping and bearing arms (2nd Amendment). His comment was not a threat, as he prefaced his right to protect himself by limiting it to only those cases where his own life was threatened. His phraseology was inarticulate, but his sentiment was appropriate. And for this he was deprived of his 1st and 2nd Amendment rights as explained in my Article “Red Flag, Yellow Flag, and No Flag “

This is analogous to what the British were doing before and during the Revolutionary War. American colonists were declaring their intention to protect themselves, by armed conflict if necessary, against British threats against them. When the British attempted to seize their weapons, they utilized armed resistance to protect themselves. The battles of Lexington and Concord ensued, and the American Revolution began. I fear that if authorities began to size weapons under Red Flag laws then we may see the start of another revolution in America.

09/01/19 War is Hell!TOC

Death, injuries, destruction, and infectious diseases are what war is. At that’s why it should be avoided. But not avoided at all costs. For sometimes the cost of war needs to be burdened to assure the peace is worthwhile. For peace is not the absence of war, but as the celebrated philosopher Baruch Spinoza has said:

"Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice." - Baruch Spinoza

To avoid war without establishing a Spinozian peace is to inflict yourself with injustice and undue future burdens. Do not go lightly into war as there will be a tremendous cost in life, injuries, property, diseases, and treasury. But to not fight a war to establish or preserve a Spinozian peace will be more costly.

But if you need to go to war remember that in fighting a war the quotes of the great Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman:

  • "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it, and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace."
  • “Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.”
  • “War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”
  • “If the people raise a great howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking.”
  • "It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell."

If you need to go to war you need to fight to win and win as quickly as possible. For any other way of fighting prolongs a war resulting in more death, injuries, destruction, and infectious diseases.

08/31/19 The Purpose of the CourtsTOC

At a recent cigar lounge discussion, someone mentioned that the purpose of the courts was to protect the poor. Not wishing to disrupt the peace I did not challenge this statement. However, I have no problem disrupting the peace in my Chirps. The best explanation of the purpose of the courts comes from the Bible:

“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”
- Leviticus 19:15 ESV

The courts are to insure Justice as I have written in another Chirp “Justice For All”. To put in another, more practical, context the purpose of the Courts is to ensure a civil society by the application of the “Rule of Law”.

Anytime you put an adjective before the word “Justice” within the Judicial system (i.e. Social, Environmental, Distributive, Occupational, Organizational, etc.) it is a perversion of justice. Within the Judicial system, there must be “Equal Justice for All” (i.e. “Equality Under the Law “and” Equal Protection of the Laws”) or there can be no justice, and Justice must always be blind to all but the merits of the case and the application of the law. Treating people or persons unequally within the Judicial system means favoritism or un-favoritism for some, not based on the merits of their case or the law. Unequal treatment within the Judicial system was one of the major reasons that the Colonist declared independence from Britain, and we became the United States. I fear that if we start seeing Adjective Justice within the Judicial system, we are sowing the seeds of a future revolution. We must assure “Equal Justice for All” and a that “Justice is Blind” to maintain the integrity of our Judicial system.

08/30/19 Practicing What You PreachTOC

I have written a new article “Practicing What You Preach” that examines the hypocrisy of those that are claiming “No One is Above the Law”. I hope that you would take some of your valuable time to read this article, as it exposes the dangers to the Rule of Law when “No One is Above the Law” is unequally applied.

08/30/19 Animal CrueltyTOC

I am an animal lover, specifically a lover of dogs and cats. I have owned a few dogs and cats in my life, and I have treated all of them as family members. I cared for and protected them to the best of my abilities. I have grieved and continue to feel sorrow for the loss of them after they have died, and I still miss them. I know that the love of dogs and cats and other animals makes you a better and more responsible person. So, when I see cruelty to dogs and cats and to other animals, I am highly offended and pained. And this cruelty is not only by individuals but by some breeders of dogs and cats and other animals. For this is not only abuse to animals but a denigration of the human spirit of those who are cruel to animals. If you are capable of abusing animals, you are only one step away from abusing people.

You may also be a danger to yourself or others. I believe cruelty to animals is a symptom of mental problems. The State and Local governments need to strengthen their Animal Cruelty laws and then enforce them. The Federal government needs to regulate interstate commerce of animals to assure that no animal cruelty is practiced. Those that practice animal cruelty needs to have a psychological and perhaps a psychiatric examination to determine if they have a mental problem. All who practice animal cruelty need counseling to overcome this infliction and heal their human spirit.
Cruelty to animals bespeaks of inhumanity to people and needs to end.

08/29/19 World Hunger and CharityTOC

“My Heart Aches, but My Head Rules.” Is the best description of my reaction to world hunger. All but the most inhumane of us are upset by world hunger. “My Heart Aches” for those that are hungry and starving in the world. However, “My Head Rules” in what I believe needs to be done to alleviate world hunger. My head tells me that the main cause of world hunger is corrupt governments. Corrupt governments that do not represent the will of the people, corrupt governments that do not enforce the Rule of Law, and corrupt governments that do not support a free economy and capitalism. For if you have a Democratic Government, the Rule of Law, and Capitalism, you rarely have hunger. For if you have these things then the incentive is to provide your people with the necessities of life; food, water, clothing, and shelter, and the ability to achieve these goals.

You would also have the charity of the people of the country that could afford to help their fellow citizens in need. For charity begins at home, and by your neighbors, and your fellow citizens. A charity that comes from outside these sources rarely meets the needs of the hungry people. And such charities can also perpetuate hunger. Perpetuate hunger in that it allows a corrupt government to remain corrupt and ignore the needs of their people. Therefore, when I see charitable appeals to help alleviate hunger in the world these charities often supply food to the hungry. But, by doing this, they also allow corrupt governments to continue to ignore the needs of their people. And then, hunger persists for their people. I, therefore, cannot support these charities, as my head tells me that in doing so I am de facto allowing hunger to persist. I wish there was a charity that would work to replace corrupt governments with a government that is democratic and responsive to the needs of their people, enforces the Rule of Law, and supports Capitalism. Such a charity would be well worth the contributions and they would also do the most to help alleviate world hunger.

08/28/19 Divisiveness in AmericaTOC

I have removed my Chip on “Divisiveness in America” and have converted and expanded it to an Article. This Article, available here, examines the causes and culprits for this divisiveness. And while there is much divisiveness it is not for the reasons that most pundits claim as I have explained in this Article.

08/27/19 Is It Time to Purchase Greenland?TOC

A tempest in a teapot was brewed when President Trump’s private comment on “should we purchase Greenland” was made public. The national pride of Denmark and Greenland was ruffled by this comment, as should be expected. This is why this private comment should have remained private. However, the substance of this idea should be examined. I have posted and Article “Is It Time to Purchase Greenland?” which examines the costs and benefits for all parties if the United States were to purchase Greenland.

08/26/19 SETI and VulcanTOC

Are we alone in the universe? Are there advanced civilizations that we can detect? How can we better the odds of making contact? These questions are both fundamental and universal, and examined in my new Science Article "SETI and Vulcan".

08/25/19 – Illumination, Not TitillationTOC

Yesterday, I spent a pleasant few hours enjoying a cigar with my friends in a local cigar store and lounge. At this cigar store and lounge, they had the television tuned to the History channel playing back-to-back episodes of the “Ancient Aliens” series. As much as I tried to ignore these episodes, I did occasionally pay some attention to them. Being scientifically oriented I was astonished and exasperated as to the number of scientific inaccuracies and sometimes falsehoods, incorrect reasoning, logical fallacies, and cognitive biases (as examined in my Observation on "Reasoning") of what the people being interviewed had to say. If I, or another scientific person, had a debate with them on this subject they would have ended up looking foolish to an impartial observer. Unfortunately, The History channel, and other scientific channels, often have such programming on other topics such as Intelligent Life, UFOs, Pseudoscience, and History mysteries. I am sure that these programs have enough of an audience to generate good ratings, and therefore revenues, for these channels as many people are interested in these subjects. They do not, however, accurately illuminate these subjects to provide the viewer with well-informed knowledge. I would suggest that you review my Article on “Intelligent Life, UFOs, and Pseudoscience”  for some scientific examinations of these subject. The “Knowledge, Experience, and Wisdom, and Knowing vs. Understanding, as well as the Reasoning” sections of my Observation in “Life” provides some information that can be utilized to critique this type of television programming.

08/24/19 The Bill of RightsTOC

I have written two articles on the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. The History article “The Underlying Meaning of the Bill of Rights” delves into the reason for and the underlying meaning of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. While the Miscellaneous article “Natural (Bill of) Rights” elaborates on the History article with my thoughts on the Bill of Rights in the 21st century. If you read the Miscellaneous article (“Natural (Bill of) Rights”) you need not read the History article.

08/22/19 Wall Street versus Main StreetTOC

“The business of American is Business” is often used to describe America. And while this is generally true it should not be utilized to define government policy. Often Wall Street acts if the purpose of the Government is to keep the markets growing and the profits flowing. Sometimes what is best for Wall Street is not what is best for Main Street America. Foreign Policy and Foreign Trade is where this dichotomy often occurs. Foreign Policy must be conducted for the best interests of all the American people, not just for the best interests of American business. The safety and security of the American people must take precedence over the growth of the American economy, and sometimes this sends negative tremors throughout the American economy. But these negative tremors must be endured in the short term to assure that in the long term the American people benefit both economically and non-economically. For more on Foreign Policy, I would direct you to my Observation “International Issues”. And while generally, Foreign Trade is good for both the American people and American business this is not always the case. For Foreign trade to be advantageous and equitable for all parties, both Foreign and Domestic, it must be equitable and conducted on a level playing field. For more on the subject of foreign trade, I would direct you to my Article “Tariffs - A Double Entry Ledger”.

08/22/19 Gun Control and Red Flag, Yellow Flag, and No FlagTOC

In my observation “Gun Control” and my article “Red Flag, Yellow Flag, and No Flag “ I have noted many issues and concerns regarding Gun Control. In this observation and article and I briefly touched on a national registry of all firearms, and perhaps ammunition, in the United States. I also examine the issue that many gun control advocates are proposing “Red Flag” laws that would prohibit the sale or possession of firearms to persons who have shown a propensity for violence or mental illness that they could be a danger to themselves or others. While these may sound like a practical solution, in practice they are very troubling as stated in this observation and article.

08/21/19 PollingTOC

In my observation “Political Polling” I note that political polling has become ubiquitous and nefarious in today’s society. Polling has also become notoriously inaccurate as well, for a variety of reasons as I have outlined in my observation.

The best example of this is the 2016 Presidential election. Prior to the election political pollsters and pundits informed us that there was no way the Donald Trump could win the election. In one case a pollster informed us that Hillary Clinton had a 98 percent chance of winning the general election. Most (if not all) pollsters said that there was no chance that Donald Trump could win the necessary 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. But an election is the only accurate poll worth considering. Despite these pollsters and pundits, Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States (by a wide margin in the electoral votes). And despite these inaccurate polls the pollsters are continuing to report on the opinions of the American people regarding Donald Trump’s popularity and policy positions. Until pollsters can correct their mistakes, which is improbable as Donald Trump’s supporters tend to not participate in polls, as well as the changing means of communication in 21st century America make polling more doubtful, you should be highly dubious of what pollsters and pundits are saying about the 2020 elections.

Let us not forget that these same pollsters, who were so wrong about Donald Trump in 2016, are still polling and projecting for the 2020 election. Therefore, whenever political polling is being utilized you should “Beware the Poll Results”, and “Beware the Poll Utilizers”.

08/20/19 Socialism is ImmoralTOC

I have written a new article "Socialism is Immoral", which is a companion piece to my article "Socialism vs. Capitalism". If you are considering, or of the opinion of, that socialism is a viable alternative then I would encourage you to review these articles. If you oppose socialism then these articles will provide information that illuminates some of the many problems of socialism.

08/16/19 Anti-Semitism in the USATOC

Anti-Semitism, Anti-Christianism, and Anti-Islamism

I have one word for Anti-Semitism, Anti-Christianism, and Anti-Islamism - Despicable!!! Anyone who participates in Anti-Semitism Anti-Christianism and Anti-Islamism deserves neither our attention nor respect. Both overt and covert Anti-Semitism, Anti-Christianism, and Anti-Islamism are to be rejected by all decent, moral and responsible persons. Unfortunately, in today's society, we have seen an increase in Anti-Semitism, Anti-Christianism and Anti-Islamism activities as part of an Anti-Religious inclination of many people. All decent, moral, and respectful people should do whatever is in their power to oppose Anti-Semitism Anti-Christianism, and Anti-Islamism, whether it be overt or covert. It is evil and should be removed from your hearts and minds. All evil should be removed from your hearts and minds, but Anti-Semitism, Anti-Christianism, and Anti-Islamism are especially important to be removed. As Martin Luther King Jr. said:

"I hope for a future in which all people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin."

All people deserve to be judged by the content of their character and by no other factors. No religion, creed, race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability, military service, political affiliation, or the character of their family members should be utilized in judging an individual. It should also be remembered that the sins of the father are not vested upon the son, and no one should be the judge but upon their own actions and words. Let us strive for a future when all individuals are judged upon their own merits and character. To do so would result in a more peaceful and just society.

Anti-Semitism in the USA

Unfortunately, while Anti-Christianism and Anti-Islamism are increasing in America Anti-Semitism is on a big uprise in America. And this Anti-Semitism takes many insidious and devious forms. While some of this Anti-Semitism is direct acts or verbal or written statements (although stated/written somewhat obliquely) it is not difficult to recognize the Anti-Semitism of the perpetrator. Other verbal or written statements that are Anti-Semitic are not so easily recognized. They are often couched in term of caring for people, or human rights, or foreign policy goals. While they often sound noble their bedrock is Anti-Semitism. Today, it is couched in terms of changing the internal and foreign policies of Israel. Whether it be Israeli settlement policies, foreign aid, territorial borders, or the rise of the Anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement, it is Anti-Semitism. For there is no difference between hatred of Israel and hatred for Jews.

The fact is that this Anti-Semitism is a growing problem on the left. Whether it be worldwide or in American, modern Anti-Semitism it is mainly a leftist problem. There are, of course, Anti-Semitic sentiments on the far right but these are outliers on the right and are given no heed by the mainstream right (see my Chirp "Both Sides Do It"). However, the Anti-Semitism on the left is becoming more mainstream. Whether it be politicians, commentators, activists, and even journalists it is more acceptable to express Anti-Semitic sentiments. Those that practice Anti-Semitism must be rebuked and should not have a position of power or authority in society so that they cannot sow their Anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism must be confronted and condemned whenever it rears its ugly head.
For history has shown that whenever it is not it festers and grows to become a cancer that will eventually destroy a society.

08/14/19 The Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI) and Skin In The Game (SIG)TOC

From the opening of this fine article by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:

 “IYI is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid-twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in many countries, the government’s role is ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and rarely seen outside specialized outlets, social media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many opening for the IYI. Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is erudite.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools, and PhDs as these are needed in the club.”

The Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI) is the best explanation I have heard that explains the current crop of Academics and Journalist in the last 50 years. These people often intensely study things, but rarely do they do anything. The IYI academic pedigree is often a K-12 education, followed by undergraduate college, followed by post-graduate studies, followed by a teaching or research position, thus never having to earn a salary by working in the real world. The journalist path is K-12 education, followed by a Journalist college degree, with perhaps some postgraduate studies, then a reporter’s position and perhaps eventually a commentator position. The journalist talks to people (mostly the IYI, but sometimes a business leader), but they never actually do anything in the real world but interview, research, and write. The IYI academics are full of theories and opinions based on these studies, but rarely do they attempt to implement their theories or opinions in the real world, and when they do it is often without any Skin In The Game (SIG). They utilize other people’s monies and efforts to achieve their goals, and if it fails, they can walk away without any consequences to themselves. Even after a failure, they continue to espouse their views, often making excuses for why it didn’t work in the real world. They continued to be called upon by other academics and journalist to espouse their opinions, even though they have no track record of effort or success. The journalist may think they know something about which they have interviewed, researched and written about, but the real world rarely conforms to their opinions, as the real world is often more complex and nuanced then they have studied or researched. Beware the IYI, as they are often wrong and will lead you astray.

08/13/19 Facts, Truth, and RealityTOC

“We choose truth over facts”
– Joe Biden on the 2020 Presidential campaign trail

You cannot have truth without facts, and truth helps you to determine reality. The simple definition of these words, as follows, manifest this.

  • Fact - A statement or assertion of verified information about something that is the case or has happened.
  • Truth - A fact that has been verified.
  • Reality - The state of the world as it really is rather than as you might want it to be.

Facts are the bedrock of truth and reality. Your facts must be correct before you can seek truth and determine reality. And facts are not malleable as one of our founding fathers stated:

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." 
- from John Adams, 'Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,' December 1770

Without facts, there can be no truth. To believe that something is true, without facts, is to believe that anything is possible or has happened.  This leads to disassociation from reality. And people who are disassociated from reality are characterized as mentally ill.

Facts should be utilized with intellectual reasoning to determine the truth, which allows you to perceive, recognize, or understand reality. To do otherwise would abrogate the truth and lead you to disassociate from reality. To allow emotions into your facts and reasoning will also lead to falsehoods as explained in my Observation  “With Facts, Intelligence, and Reasoning”. Remember:

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
- Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003), United States Senator from New York from 1976 to 2000

When someone claims to have “My Truth” or “Your Truth” they are not discussing reality, but their own mindful illusions. This also leads to “true for you but not for me”. If everybody has a different truth than there is no commonality which is required for intellectual discourse. Without this commonality, it is impossible for any social, economic, or scientific progress to occur. It also leads to political chaos as it would not be possible to determine the laws, rule, and regulations necessary to organize society.

We, therefore, need to reject those who espouse “Truth Over Facts”, “My Truth”, or “Your Truth” as inane and dangerous to society, and to pay no heed to those that utter these statements nor to their illusions.

08/12/19 My Trigger Warnings (updated)TOC

There are many phrases and pet peeves that I have concerning political discourse that I have commented upon in my Observations on  “Phrases” and “Pet Peeves”. However, some are so egregious that when I hear them, I typically stop the conversation to correct their usage. The following is a list that triggers my ire:

  • “Our Diversity is Our Strength” This phrase drives me bananas. If diversity was the basis of strength then we would probably all be living under the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire had the most diverse citizens of any empire in the world. It, however, collapsed. In the 20th century, the most diverse nation was the USSR. And it also collapsed. Therefore, diversity does not equate to the strength of a society. The strongest societies in history where the ones that encouraged the most freedom and liberty of its citizens. As such the United States is the strongest country in the world because it encourages freedom and liberty amongst its citizens. Our strength is in our Liberties and Freedoms, and our ability to pursue happiness, regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion, age, marital status, or disability. Our diversity encourages us to examine our society in different lights, and this may assist us in enhancing our freedoms and liberties, and that strengthens us. However, promoting freedom and liberty promotes strength. Therefore,
    “Our Liberties and Freedoms Is Our Strength”.
  •  “Both Sides Do It” Of course, both sides do it, in the human experience both sides do everything. That is the nature of humankind. Whenever there is an issue confronting our society the extremes of both sides of the issue will often use the same types, methodologies, and techniques to attack the other side. So, therefore, the question or statement that both sides do it is irrelevant. The question is whether the mainstream of each side of the issue both do it. In my experience, this is most obvious when dealing with conservatism versus liberalism/progressivism, Republican versus Democrat, left versus right, etc. What we should be asking is if the mainstream and/or leadership of each side are both doing it. My experience has been that when the conservative, Republican, or right-leaning often use the tactic of disagreeing with the other side based on their belief that the other sides policy is wrong. Whereas the liberal/progressives, Democrats, or left-leaning often argues that the other side is evil or one of the isms (Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, and Bigoted (thanks to Dennis Prager)). This is done to demonize, denigrate, or disparage the conservative, Republican, or right-leaning person in an attempt to silence them. In a civil discourse when one side criticizes the policy of another, it is not acceptable for the other side to disparage the motivation of the other side. The only acceptable response is to critique the other sides’ policy.
  •  “Nazism & Fascism are right-wing ideologies” as explained in my article on “Nazism & Fascism” this is a lack of understanding the ideology of Nazism and Fascism. I often state that the main difference between Marxism and Communism, and Nazism and Fascism, is that the Marxist and Communist slogan was “Workers of the World Unite” and the Nazis and Fascists slogan was “Workers of Germany or Italy Unite”. Their political, economic, and social agendas were very similar, and their means and methodologies to achieve their agenda were the same.
  • Blacks are 3/5 of a Human in the Constitution” as explained in my article on “Black are three-fifths of a Human and the Explosion of Slavery” this statement displays a total lack of ignorance, or the disingenuous usage, of what and why this is in the Constitution of the United States. They were utilized in the Constitution not for the purposes of placing a value upon a person, but for political power within the House of Representatives. This statement is often utilized for divisive purposes and needs to be countered whenever it is uttered.
  • Abortion Exception for Rape or Incest” which I have commented upon in my observation on “Abortion”. The question that I will ask them is “What are the Human Rights of a fetus?” and “Can you tell me how a fetus conceived in rape or incest is any less human than one conceived in love or lust, and/or why they deserved to be treated any differently?”. Without the answers to these questions, it is not possible to formulate laws, regulations, or social policy regarding abortion.

08/05/19 Some Scientific ConcernsTOC

Modern science has some significant issues and concern as well as troubles, that it needs to address. In my article “On the Nature of Scientific Inquiry “an outline of the nature of scientific inquiry that does not delve into the details of science and utilizes no mathematics, but instead presents the basic concepts of scientific inquiry, I discuss these significant issues and concern as well as the troubles. This paper was written to provide the general public with the background of science so that when they encounter scientific issues, or public policy issues that utilize science, they will have a basis for interpreting the scientific information. I would like to point out, and hopefully, you will read my thoughts on these scientific significant issues and concern as well as troubles.

The Issues and Concerns with Science

Modern scientists have tools and techniques that were unavailable to previous scientists. Yet these tools and techniques have several issues and concerns as to their limitations, accuracy, and appropriateness. There are also a few unanswered questions in science that could potentially have a significant impact on science. Some of the most important are as follows.

  • Science and Mathematics
  • The Arrow of Time
  • Statistical and Probability Methods
  • Hard Data vs. Soft Data
  • Data Mining, Data Massaging, and Data Quality
  • Computer Modeling Issues, Concerns & Limitations
  • GIGO - Garbage In Garbage Out
  • Open and Closed Systems

The Troubles with Science

Science is in trouble in the 21st century, and it has been in trouble since the latter part of the 20th century. I have insufficient knowledge to provide an examination of all the issues and solutions facing science, but I have highlighted the most important (in my opinion) of these issues.

  • Big Science
  • Publish or Perish
  • Studies and Statistics Show
  • Peer Review
  • Time to Think
  • Shoehorning
  • Group Think
  • Consensus

07/28/19 Executive OrdersTOC

As the head of the executive branch of the federal government, the President is responsible for ensuring that all the nation’s laws are “faithfully executed.” In other words, the President carries out the legislation enacted by Congress but cannot originate legislation themselves.

While constitutionally speaking, the president is empowered only to sign or veto legislation that Congress sends to his desk, presidents have in recent years become more assertive in interpreting legislation through the use of signing statements or executive orders. These statements and orders often raise objections to the provisions of a particular law on constitutional grounds and instruct executive branch officials how to enforce the laws or implement the legislation according to the President’s interpretation of the law or legislation. If the President has objections on Constitutional grounds, they should veto the legislation and allow Congress to override or not override the veto.

However, in recent decades signing statements or executive orders have been issued that go beyond the bounds of Presidential authority. They are often utilized to circumvent the authority of Congress, to selectively enforce or ignore laws, or to spend monies in ways not allocated by Congress, amongst other usages not within Presidential authority.

Many lawsuits have been filed to challenge these Executive Orders. Some of these lawsuits have succeeded in blocking an Executive Order, but many more have not succeeded. In most cases, these lawsuits have been filed to block or postpone Executive Orders that are Constitutional, but the filer of the lawsuit disagrees with. A District or Circuit Court Judge can effectively impede the functioning of the Executive Branch while these lawsuits are litigated. And this litigation can take many months or years to resolve, all the while restricting the functioning of the Executive Branch. Judicial reform needs to be implemented to correct and speed up legitimate Executive Order lawsuits to resolve these lawsuits.

All this needs to stop. I am for Executive Orders that direct the Executive Branch in enforcing the laws or legislation, but against Executive Orders that go beyond enforcing the laws or legislation. I am for legitimate legal challenges to Executive Orders, but against lawsuits for the purposes of delay or disagreement. As to the solution to these problems I must defer to more knowledgeable and wiser persons who are experienced in these matters.

07/27/19 To Exonerate or to Not Exonerate, That Is the Question.TOC

With all the talk of President Trump not being “exonerated’ by the Muller investigation, we need to keep in mind the true meaning of exoneration. The most basic meaning of Exoneration is - “The condition of being relieved from blame or obligation” and to Exonerate – “Pronounce not guilty of criminal charges”. But who is capable of exonerating another? To exonerate another, you need to have all the facts and circumstance surrounding the incident that is to be exonerated. This is often a very difficult effort to accomplish. When making a judgment you should also make sure that you have all the facts of the situation, for without all the facts it is most likely that you will make a poor judgment. In this it is best to remember one of my “Principles”:

“There are three sides to every story; one side, the other side, and the truth. It is best to discover the truth before making up your mind.”

Without all the information it is not possible to exonerate someone. Or, as Alan Dershowitz has said:

 “Exoneration is for God, historians and other non-legal institutions that have access to the totality of information.”

Therefore, it is impossible for the legal system to exonerate anyone. All the legal system can do is pronounce someone guilty or not guilty based on the evidence presented in court. And this pronouncement is done by a jury of peers, not by the prosecutor, nor defense, nor a judge (except in very limited legal circumstances).

To include the words exonerate, exoneration, exonerated, or exonerative in any legal proceeding is dangerous to the “Rule of Law” as Alan Dershowitz has written in his article here. In a legal proceeding, the prosecutor can indict or not indict, charge or not charge, a suspect, but never exonerate anyone. And if the prosecutor cannot charge or indict someone than they must remain silent so as to not damage the character or reputation of a suspect or witness.

Therefore, it is not possible to exonerate President Trump of anything and all talk of exoneration should cease.

07/16/19 WisdomTOC

As I have said in one of my “Principles”: “You may be the smartest person in the room, but you're not the only person in the room, and most times you are not the smartest person in the room”. This is not only true for “Intelligent” but also for “Wisdom”, as wisdom requires intelligence and experience. Or as I have stated in one of my “Truisms”: “True Wisdom Most Often Comes from Bitter Experience... Considered!”.

And so, it is with many of today's public figures. Celebrities, sportsmen and sportswomen, entertainers, wealthy individuals, and others who have excelled in their field of endeavor believe that they have a special insight on subjects for which they have not excelled. More specifically, they think that they are wiser on politics or social policy for which they espouse. Very rarely is this the case. They are most often expressing their feelings rather than their thoughts on a subject, and feelings can often lead you astray.

Sometimes we substitute our feelings for thoughts, but thoughts and feelings are two different things, and we should characterize each as such. Most times it is much easier to feel about something rather than think about something and to make up our minds based on feelings rather than thought.  But we should always think about things before we make up our minds. And we should always utilize our “Knowledge, Experience And Wisdom” and “With Facts, Intelligence, And Reasoning” as I have stated on these topics within other observations. And when we think about something, we should utilize our feelings only as a guideline, never as reasoning. It is also important that we occasionally re-examine our thinking, as new knowledge, experience, or wisdom in our life could lead us to a different conclusion.

Or, as Dennis Prager has more elegantly put it:

“People who excel in one thing are tempted to think they are smart about everything, but that is almost never the case. There is no reason at all to assume that people who excel in anything (other than wisdom) are wiser than anybody else. And here's the kicker: People who think they are wise because they excel at something unrelated to wisdom are fools.”

07/15/19 Rare Earth MineralsTOC

In May of 2018, The Department of the Interior published a list of 35 mineral commodities considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States. This list is the initial focus of a multi-agency strategy to implement President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order to break America's dependence on foreign minerals.

The mining and manufacturing of rare earth minerals are a key component of much of modern electronic equipment and other manufactured products. If these mining operations were destroyed, damaged, or halted it would not be possible to manufacture many pieces of electronic equipment or other goods. We need to develop multiple mining operations for these rare earth minerals over several continents where those rare earth minerals are located for the benefit of all Americans.

Unfortunately, some of these rare earth minerals are not located within the United States and we are dependent on foreign countries for our needs. However, many of these rare earth minerals are located within the United States but are on Federal lands protected by mining prohibitions and environmental protection regulations. As a result, these rare earth minerals are not mined within the United States. As these rare earth minerals are critical to our economy and our society, we need to start locating these rare earth minerals that are within the United States. I would suggest that we relax the mining prohibitions and environmental protection regulations for the exploration of these rare earth minerals. If, and when, they are found we then need to determine if it is safe and environmentally friendly to mine these rare earth minerals then modify the mining prohibitions and environmental protection regulations to allow for the mining of these rare earth minerals.

07/14/19 A Looming DisasterTOC

With the recent electrical blackouts that have occurred within the United States, we are reminded of the absolute necessity of reliable electrical power. However, there is a lack of awareness of several looming issues and concerns regarding reliable electrical power.

The generation of electricity, the transmission of electricity over the national electrical grid, and the distribution of electricity to the general public, businesses, and industries are currently facing many troubles and possible massive disruptions in the near future. The National Academy of Engineering has a good overview of these issues and concerns here and as they stated below:

The US power infrastructure is one of the largest and most critical infrastructures in the world. The country’s financial well-being, public health, and national security depend on it to be a reliable source of electricity to industries, commercial entities, residential facilities, government, and military organizations.

Considering the complexity and age of most of the equipment in the US power infrastructure, the lifetime reliability is extraordinary—and it has improved in the last ten years (NERC 2017). Future system reliability may be challenged, however, by the effects of climate change, increasing supplies of renewable energy, and potential cyberattacks.”

The time needed to fix these issues and concerns (decades) and expense (up to 5 trillion dollars) make this a big challenge. But it is a challenge we need to meet to assure reliable electrical power within the United States.

07/11/19 Thou Shall Not CovetTOC

The Tenth Commandment of the Bible, given by God to Moses states:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

And your neighbor’s wealth is something that belongs to your neighbor. If your neighbor earned their wealth through legal, moral, and ethical means then their wealth is no concern of yours, and you should not covet it. When you advocate taxing the rich more to support government programs that benefit yourself, or other people, then you are coveting your neighbor’s wealth. For the takings of monies from those that have earned it to the giving of these monies to those that have not earned it, rather than the taking of monies for the good of all is coveting. Whether it is done by an individual or a group of people it is still coveting.

Abraham Lincoln stated this succinctly about slavery:

"You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.
- Abraham Lincoln

The first sentence; "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." is the crux of this Chirp.

Democratic socialism, wealth redistribution, income inequality adjustment, tax the rich, occupy Wall Street, free education, free healthcare, etc. is all the same principle – "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." For to implement the above government policies requires that you take from one class of people (those that work and toil) and give it to another class of people (those who do not work and toil). This taking of their wealth would have to be accomplished through Government coercion through threats of fines and/or imprisonment if you do not give up your labor (i.e. wealth). This is not the same as taxes, as taxes are levied to support the necessary functions of the government for the good of all, not for the good of some.

This taking restricts the freedom of those that work and toil by deciding how much of their labor is theirs and how much of their labor is to be given to those who do not work and toil. This taking also restricts the liberties of those that work and toil to utilize the monies they earned as they see fit. It also restricts the freedoms of those that work and toil by imposing the governments will upon them by despotic oppression (see my “Freedom From – Liberty To” Chirp). Therefore, the government is the master of the people as it is the decider, and the people are the serfs of the government as they must obey the dictates of government. Or, as Abraham Lincoln said in the last sentence of the above quote; “it is the same tyrannical principle.”

07/09/19 The 18th CenturyTOC

The 18th century (1700-1799) was a major turning point in human history. The world of 1800 was completely different than that of 1700. This difference impacted all areas of human activity; politics, religion, economics, government, human rights, science, technology, philosophy, the arts, etc...  These impacts were felt by all; from kings, princes, aristocrats, to the common man, rich or poor and everything in-between. The world was truly turned up-side-down in the 18th century. My article on "The 18th Century" provides an overview of this remarkable century.

07/08/19 The Secret BallotTOC

The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter's choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous, forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation, blackmail, and potential vote buying. At the time of voting, no one else knows who or what the voter chose. All voting should be voluntary and by secret ballot for these reasons. Only when political leaders vote on laws, rules, or regulations should there be public voting so that future voters can make an informed choice when they vote in secret.  It is also for this reason that I believe that political caucus voting without a secret ballot are undemocratic and susceptible to undue influences and even a mob mentality.

But the secret ballot is not only important for elections but in other areas of human interactions. A modern-day example of this is in sports teams being invited to the White House after winning a championship. Many members of these sports teams are quite vocal in their opposition to President Trump. They have the right to express their opposition to President Trump but in doing so they must recognize the rights of other team members who may wish to visit the White House. They often state that they have solidarity with other team members but is this the solidarity of opinion or the solidarity of intimidation into silence. As most of the vocal team members who are opposed to the White House visit are often the team leaders are the other team members who may not be opposed to the visit acquiescing for the purposes of team cohesion or the fear of possible loss of playing time or even retribution. We may never know, but the possibility exists.

This question of the solidarity of opinion or the solidarity of intimidation into silence arises in many other arenas of human interaction. Whenever there is public voting on any issue, political or non-political, there is this possibility. And when this happens the other name for it is bulling.

07/07/19 Fear and Intimidation in the USATOC

The 21st century has shown a dramatic increase in fear and intimidation in America. The political polarization and division in America, along with the actions of many people in support of their politics and policies, has led to this sad situation. And much of this has been done by leftist and progressives in America. They believe they have this right because of their “Creed of Progressives and Leftists” as explained in another Chirp.

People are afraid to express their true thoughts, feelings, and opinions. The possibility of death threats, physical violence, doxing, loss of employment, loss of employment opportunity or employment advancement, loss of business revenue, loss of friendships and relations, etc. has led people to suppress their true thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Therefore, many polling predictions and election prognostications have been wrong. People are simply afraid of telling anybody what they really believe.

Our Freedom of Speech and Religion are suffering as a result. People can no longer peaceably assemble to support their policy position without fear of intimidation. In some places in America, they cannot even depend on police protection as the police are constrained by politically correct politicians. The 1st amendment to the Constitution is in danger, not by government actions, but by mob actions. And this must be stopped, or we cannot be a people dedicated to Freedom and Liberty.

Please Note - this is a companion Chip to my article "O say can you see" (Jul 2019) - A perspective on respecting the National Anthem.

07/06/19 Human Rights?TOC

Many politicians who are calling for radical social change are claiming that it is a human right to this change. Free health care and free college are but two examples. Claiming that something is a Human Right does not make it a Human Right. The question then becomes are these indeed Human Rights? Human Rights are difficult to definitize. Civilizations and societies, and mostly Western civilization have been struggling with the definition of Human Rights for centuries and even millennia.

Human Rights are inherent in being human and not something that is bestowed upon you by society or governments. You also have no Human Right to take from someone to give to yourself or someone else, as that would violate the human rights of the taken from person. Therefore, anything bestowed upon you by society or governments, or is the result of taking from another, cannot be a Human Right. To claim otherwise is to demonstrate your lack of understanding of Human Rights. You do have the “Freedom From” a society or government preventing you from obtaining these goals, and the “Liberty To” obtain these goals by and for yourself, as “Freedom From” and “Liberty To” are Human Rights.

Therefore, the politicians who are propounding these social changes as Human Rights are either disingenuous or lack an understanding of Human Rights. As such, you should not give heed to their pronouncements.

07/05/19 A New ConstitutionTOC

The previous four Chirps have explored the ideals of the American revolution. These ideals were codified in the U.S. Constitution. This Constitution has served us well for over two hundred years. Yet, today, we have seen this Constitution stretched beyond these ideals. To bring us back to these ideals I have proposed a rewriting of the U.S. Constitution to meets the demands of the 21st century. This rewrite is not a major overhaul, but a streamlined version that also adds particulars to the U.S. Constitution based on our governmental experiences of the 20th and 21st century. My proposed revisions, and notes on the revision, can be found at "A New U.S. Constitution".

07/04/19 The True Meaning of Independence DayTOC

As we celebrate the 243rd anniversary of Independence we should not also celebrate Independence but the meaning of Independence. As I have outlined in my article “The Meaning of the American Revolution” the meaning of Independence is a set of ideals of independence. The ideals; Freedom from - Liberty to, Equality, and Justice, are expressed in my previous chips below. In the hoopla of our celebratory activities we often do not consider these ideals. Yet, these ideals are what defines us as a nation and the goals we strive for as a nation.

These ideals are incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, most especially in the Bill of Rights and other Amendments, to establish a government dedicated to these ideals. Yet, these ideals cannot be preserved by the government alone but must be sustained by a people dedicated to these ideals. To this end we should remember the following quotes:

“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” -- author Thomas Charlton in a biography of Major General James Jackson (1809)

"But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.  It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government." -- Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)

The 20th century in America saw many changes in society that challenged these ideals. The shift from a States to a Federal focus on government challenged these ideals. The rise of more Federal intervention into the daily lives of Americans also strained these ideals. As we progressed from an agrarian to an industrial to a technological society these ideals often needed to be redefined to meet the needs of society. And in the 21st century, we see a full-scale assault on these ideals. As I have outlined in my article “A New Declaration of Independence” these assaults are numerous and pervasive in modern American society.

As we celebrate this 4th of July we all should consider these ideals and issues in modern American society. We must rededicate ourselves to these ideals so that as President Abraham Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg address:

“that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

06/30/19 Justice For AllTOC

What is Justice?  Justice, in its broadest context, includes both the attainment of that which is just and the philosophical discussion of that which is just. The concept of justice is based on numerous fields, and many differing viewpoints and perspectives including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity and fairness. Often, the general discussion of justice is divided into the realm of social justice as found in philosophy, theology and religion, and, procedural justice as found in the study and application of the law. - From the Wikipedia Article "Justice".

This Chirp is about Justice in a legal sense. The path to legal Justice throughout history has been long and torturous. For thousands of years, societies throughout the world have tried to determine the meaning of legal Justice. Today, in 21st century America, we have determined the best definition of Justice is the creation of Just Laws and the application of these laws through the "Rule of Law".

The first step to Justice is the creation of Just Laws. For you cannot justly administer an unjust law.  Our forefathers devised a system for the creation of laws that would be just. They created three branches of government; Legislative for the creation of laws, Executive to enforce the law, and Judicial to administer the law. The checks and balances built into this system were to assure that the laws would be just and not infringe on the human and Constitutional rights of the people. But no system devised by men is perfect, and there are many instances of unjust laws in our history. However, our system allows for the reexamination of laws to revise or rescind a law in the Legislative branch, to provide for discretion in enforcing the law in the Executive branch, or to overturn a law by Judicial branch review of its constitutionality. Eventually, unjust laws are overturned to assure a more perfect Justice. But this requires that:

Eternal vigilance of Laws by all is necessary for the achievement of Just Laws.

The next step is the administration of Just Laws through Legal proceedings utilizing the Rule of Law. Without the Rule of Law, there can be no Justice. But the Rule of Law requires that several concepts and tenets be enforced for Justice to prosper as explained in my article "The Rule of Law". These concepts and tenets are “Etched in Stone”. They are:

Concepts - Due Process, Speedy Trial, Presumption of Innocence, Trial by Jury, Burden of Proof on Prosecutor or Plaintiff, No Burden on Defense.

Tenets - An Independent Judiciary, Probable Cause, Equality Under the Law, Equal Protection of the Laws, Pursuit of Justice, Pardons and Commutations, Full Faith and Credit, Contract Law Enforcement.

The rule of law must be sacrosanct in all legal proceedings for there to be any hope of Justice. It is also an excellent guide in our public and private dealings and judgments of others. For without using these guidelines in our dealings with others it is too easy to reach a possibly wrong conclusion about someone. These wrong conclusions could lead to the person losing their reputation, employment, wealth, future opportunities, and even family and friends. These things should never be taken from anyone without credible, verifiable, and substantiated evidence of wrongdoing. To do so otherwise would cause serious harm to the individual and to the social fabric of our society. But it is most important to remember:

To assure Justice for All you must dedicate yourself to the Rule of Law.
Not only the Rule of Law for yourself but Rule of Law for all.
To do otherwise means there will be No Justice for Anyone.

06/29/19 EqualityTOC

As stated in the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” does not mean we that we are all created equal in our physical abilities and mental capacities. Nobody is created equal in their physical abilities and mental capacities – we are all created differently as regards to these factors. What it means is that we are all created equal in our Human Rights and that no person, organization, society, or government may violate our Human Rights. These Human Rights also assumes that each person is entitled to pursue happiness. The right to pursue happiness is any legal activity as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. This pursuit of happiness is to be unencumbered by any laws, rules, and regulations that do not apply to all. We should all have an equal opportunity to pursue happiness based on our physical abilities and mental capacities as well as our own efforts to achieve happiness. Equality is not a guarantee of equal outcomes but a guarantee of equal opportunity and equal treatment. This means that in practice that some will be more successful in achieving their happiness, some will fail, but most will achieve some degree of happiness. And many times, this success or failure is due to the inequality of our physical abilities and mental capacities. It’s called "Life".

06/26/19 Freedom from - Liberty toTOC

One should distinguish between the terms "Freedom" and "Liberty." Speaking generally, Freedom usually means to be free from something, whereas Liberty usually means to be free to do something, although both refer to the quality or state of being free. Freedom generally means you are free from despotic oppression, whether it be by a government, an aristocracy, a theocracy, or an individual or group. Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petitioning Government, or to Bear Arms, etc. refers to the release from despotic restraints. Liberty on the other hand gives you the right to choose a course of action. How to spend your money, what job or occupation you wish to pursue, where you live, who you associate with, what education you undertake, who to marry, or any personal decision you make is liberty. Freedom is not to be used in the sense of our being free to do anything we want. All laws can be viewed as a restriction on freedom and liberty, and such restrictions are proper in any well-regulated society. But they are only proper to prevent one person’s freedom and liberty from infringing on another person’s freedom or liberty. It is this balance between each person’s Freedom and Liberty that defines the state of a Free society.

06/07/19 Something We Should All Agree UponTOC

The following is a quote from a Democratic Senator and Presidential candidate which I hope that all of us can agree upon. Although I am opposed on almost all of the issues that this candidate supports I do support her in the following statement:

"I'm deeply grateful for the opportunities America has given me. But the giant 'American' corporations who control our economy don't seem to feel the same way. They certainly don't act like it. Sure, these companies wave the flag -- but they have no loyalty or allegiance to America. ... These 'American' companies show only one real loyalty: to the short-term interests of their shareholders, a third of whom are foreign investors. If they can close up an American factory and ship jobs overseas to save a nickel, that's exactly what they will do -- abandoning loyal American workers and hollowing out American cities along the way. ... The result? Millions of good jobs lost overseas and a generation of stagnant wages, growing income inequality, and sluggish economic growth. ... We can navigate the changes ahead if we embrace economic patriotism and make American workers our highest priority, rather than continuing to cater to the interests of companies and people with no allegiance to America."
- Senator Elizabeth Warren

As to my reasons for support this statement I would direct you to my article "Tariffs - A Double Entry Ledger".

06/01/19 Signifying NothingTOC

Many politicians espouse policy positions that sound good (and some not so good). When pressed for more information on how the policy would work they often resort to platitudes of what it would or would not do. They most always never speak of the workings, funding, and costs of these policy positions. Yet these details are needed to ascertain how the policy would actually work and its impacts on society. After all, as it has been remarked many times “The devil is in the details”. Without these details being available I would quote Shakespeare “It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing”.

From Macbeth, spoken by Macbeth - By William Shakespeare

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

05/28/19 RIP Murray Gell-MannTOC

Murray Gell-Mann, the Nobel laureate physicist who died Friday, May 24, at age 89, also lived two lives. But both were spent learning — about how the world works. In his first life Gell-Mann was perhaps the preeminent theoretical physicist of his era, playing a prime role in revealing the architecture of the subatomic world. In his second life he pioneered the study of complexity, probing the behavior of systems ranging from economics to the weather, too complicated for the reductionist methods of particle physics.

By far, Gell-Mann is most famous for the idea of quarks, the building blocks of most Earthly matter. Before 1964, physicists believed that atoms assembled themselves from only three fundamental parts — electrons, protons and neutrons. Electrons even today remain indivisible. But Gell-Mann suspected that protons and neutrons — the constituents of the atomic nucleus — concealed smaller particles within.

Gell-Mann expressed his concern with science’s frequent lack of openness to researchers challenging conventional wisdom. “Most challenges to scientific orthodoxy are wrong,” he said. “A lot of them are crank. But it happens from time to time that a challenge to scientific orthodoxy is actually right. And the people who make that challenge face a terrible situation — getting heard, getting believed, getting taken seriously.” He called the inherent opposition of traditional science to daring novelty “the pressure of received ideas.”

05/18/19 I'm With StupidTOC

In my Chirp “The Creed of Progressives and Leftists“ I noted that they believe that they are more intelligent, better educated and morally superior so that they, therefore, of course, are always correct. This Creed leads them to believe that if you oppose a Progressive/Leftist you must be dumb or stupid. And they behave and speak to those that disagree with them as if they were dumb or stupid. They disparage those who disagree with them, as I have noted in my Chirp “The Three D's”, and utilize pejoratives about their intelligence. They also utilize the term “evolved” to describe a person who has changed their position to a more progressive/leftist stance. They forget that evolving goes not necessarily mean becoming better. Many species evolve then become extinct, as the evolution was not conducive to their (changing) environment. Evolution does not necessarily mean improvement, and it certainly does not have anything to do with intelligence. But then, since I often disagree with progressives and leftists, based on “Facts, Intelligence, and Reasoning” I, therefore, must be stupid. Given the above, I am proud to say, “I’m with stupid.

05/15/2019 Just Ain't SoTOC

As Mark Twain was once famously quoted:

“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”

Or, as in one of my favorite locutions:

“Just because you "believe" something to be true does not mean that you "know" something is true, and just because someone says it is true doesn’t make it true.”

And so, it is, with many Americans thinking something is true when it is not true. One of the reasons for this is not distinguishing between facts and statistics. I have covered Statistics in my observation on “Statistics and Polling’ and, therefore, I need not do so here. You should also keep in mind, however, that if the “facts” utilized for the statistics “Ain't So” than the statistics “Ain't So”. Another reason is the inability to distinguish between Lies and Beliefs as discussed in my article “ Lies and Beliefs” 

The big problem, however, is facts. Americans are inundated with many “facts” during their daily lives, and many of these “facts” are untrue. Many of these “facts” are told by people who believe them to be true, but they never determined if they were true. We are all human and make mistakes, or we have the inability or lack of time to determine the facts.  Therefore, these people are often mistaken and not malicious. However, some people recite “facts” to gain an advantage or to persuade you to their beliefs. These people are behaving in a disingenuous manner and you should be wary of them. In your daily life, these people may be difficult to distinguish. Simply be wary of any statement of fact from someone who is not knowledgeable nor experienced in the subject matter, or who is unknown to you.

What I am more concerned about is the “facts” utilized in public policy discussions or debates, as well as by politicians.  These people wish to persuade you of the correctness of their policy positions. As such, they often only inform you of the “facts” that support their position. They often do not place their “facts” in context, or are selective of their “facts”, or omissive of other contravening “facts”. Their “Reasoning”, as discussed in my observation, is also often fallacious. As such, it is not possible to ascertain the rightness of their position. Before you accept any policy position be careful of the facts and reasoning. Otherwise it “Just Ain't So”.

05/14/19 Tax Returns ConfidentialityTOC

Several States have begun legislative action to place constraints on whom may run for President of the United States on their ballots. More specifically they are requiring a Presidential candidate to release several years of Federal Tax Returns to be placed on the ballot. Some States are also requiring that State Tax Returns be released to Congress if Congress Requests them. I believe that both of these actions are unconstitutional.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution says to serve as president, one must be: (1) a natural-born U.S. citizen of the United States; (2) at least thirty-five years old; and (3) a resident in the United States for at least fourteen years. Adding any other criteria to be placed on a State ballot would violate the Constitution by adding additional requirements. If you can add additional requirements could you also add a requirement for race, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability, military service, political affiliation, or another status? Of course not! But if you can add one requirement you can add other requirements. The only legitimate requirement to be added to a State ballot is that a certain number or percentage of the state voters sign a ballot petition for a person to be placed on a ballot. This is necessary to reasonably limit the number of persons on a ballot. These actions could also be interpreted as a Bill of Attainder -a legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial. The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed." In this case, it is to limit President Trump from running in their State unless he releases his tax returns. There is no legitimate purpose for releasing any tax records for any taxpayer, as this information is privileged between the taxpayer and the IRS

There is also no legitimate purpose for releasing State Tax records for any taxpayer as this information is privileged between the taxpayer and the appropriate State tax authority. To break this privilege is no endanger the collection of taxes as many people would be reluctant to provide true and accurate information to a State Tax Authority on fear of it being released to damage their reputation or to harm them some way. No freedom and liberty loving person should be fearful that their government damage their reputation or to harm them some way, for this could lead to tyranny by the government.

05/14/19 A Constitutional Crisis TOC

Many Democratic politicians and progressive media commentators are proclaiming that we are in a Constitutional Crisis – and I agree with them! But it is not the crisis that they are proclaiming but the crisis that they are fermenting. The actions of the current Executive Branch are typical reactions to the Legislative Branch actions throughout U.S. history. We need not go back further than the administration of President Obama to demonstrate Executive Branch reactions to Legislative Branch actions. Resisting subpoenas, withholding information, invoking Executive Privilege, evasive answers, and other methods have been utilized by the Executive Branch to thwart what they thought were Legislative Branch incursions on the Executive Branch duties and responsibilities. Sometimes the Executive Branch was in the right, and sometimes they were in the wrong. Usually, through negotiations or Judicial Branch interventions, these issues were resolved or lay dormant.

The Legislative Branch does have the duty, under the Constitution, to create laws and have oversight of Executive Branch actions.  However, these duties and responsibilities require a legitimate legislative purpose in creating laws or proper Congressional oversight. It does not allow the Legislative Branch to do whatever it pleases. If the Legislative Branch could do whatever it pleased it would devolve into a Star Chamber unconstrained by the Rule of Law (see my article on “The Rule of Law in Non-Judicial Proceedings” for more information). The Legislative Branch requests for information, testimony, and subpoenas to the Executive Branch must serve a legitimate Legislative Branch purpose, and not a political purpose. The current actions of the House of Representatives are not for legitimate Legislative Branch purposes and, indeed, are politically motivated. As such, they are the cause of our current Constitutional Crisis.

There is no legitimate purpose for subpoenaing the Attorney General to release information that by law they are not allowed to release. There is no legitimate purpose for demanding the underlying documentation of a criminal investigation, some of which is Grand Jury testimony that cannot be released by law, or Classified Information that may only be released to approved Congressional Committees that they then must keep secret. There is no legitimate purpose for subpoenaing tax records for any taxpayer as this information is privileged between the taxpayer and the IRS, unless the Legislative Branch can demonstrate by evidence, not suspicion, that it requires this information for legitimate Legislative Branch purposes. Persons testifying before Congress should not be set-up for perjury traps, nor should they incur a significant financial obligation in lawyer fees to protect themselves from possible perjury traps. There are no legitimate Legislative Branch purposes for the accusations and pejoratives utilized to describe Executive Branch persons and actions, except to hinder the Executive Branch from performing their duties and responsibilities.

As such, the House of Representatives is fermenting a Constitution Crisis by stepping outside the bounds of their legitimate Legislative Branch duties and responsibilities. They are also violating their Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The House of Representatives must be roundly condemned for these deeds and words, and put an end to these actions, for this Constitution Crisis to pass.

05/12/19 Condemned to Repeat ItTOC

Warfare, slavery, oppression, infanticide, human sacrifice, and female subjugation have all be constants throughout human history and in all societies. African, European, Asiatic, Native North American, and Native South American civilizations have all engaged in these practices. It is only in the last few centuries that these practices have been recognized as immoral. It was in European Society, guided by Judeo-Christian values, that the idea of the dignity of the individual human being and human rights arose and bloomed. With this recognition came the ideal of self-government, the advancement of the arts and sciences. and the development of capitalism which supplied goods and services to the common man (see my comment on this in my article “Capitalism is Freedom and Liberty”).

Yet, even in this development of the dignity of the individual human being and human rights, there were abuses and shortcomings. This is because this development was a struggle that had setbacks during its advancement. Man is imperfect and makes bad choices, or is good or evil, and lacked the knowledge or experience of the proper morals and ethics to achieve these goals. When we make a historical judgment on a society or personage, we need to keep this, and other factors in mind when making these judgments. My article “Condemned to Repeat It”  examines these factors and how to best make a judgment.

05/07/19 Social Media and Freedom of SpeechTOC

As I have written in my article “Slander & Libel on Social Media and Journalism” social media is playing a more active role in our society as a source of news and political commentary. As such, we must be assured that all sides of news and political commentary have a voice. To not do so is to skewer the social and political scene, which can lead to undesirable and unforeseen results. Unfortunately, many social media outlets are banning speech that they disagree with. The majority of these bans most often occur on the conservative viewpoints of social and political speech. And this must stop as it is harmful to the body politic. I am aware of the Constitutional and legal issues in regard to legislating an end to this banning as I have outlined in the before mentioned article. I would encourage you to read this article for my thoughts on this subject.

05/07/19 Alt-Right and Alt-Left (Far-Left)TOC

The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loosely connected far-right, white nationalist movement. The term is ill-defined, having been used in different ways by various groups and individuals. A largely online movement, the alt-right is found primarily in the United States, where it originated, although alt-rightists are also present elsewhere in the world. Constituent groups that associate with the "alt-right" label have been characterized as hate groups.

The far-left term has been used to describe ideologies such as: communism, anarchism, anarcho-communism, left-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, Marxism–Leninism, Trotskyism, and Maoism. Since 2016, the term alt-left has also been used to refer to political views at the extreme end of this spectrum, and to those who adhere to such views.

In my opinion, I believe that the alt-right and alt-left are abhorrent to everything that I have written on this website. They regularly espouse views that are contrary to Human Rights and Constitutional Rights. Although they have the Free Speech right to express these views we who abhor these views have the Free Speech right to condemn these views. And they must be condemned. Condemned but not silenced, as this would be a violation of their Free Speech rights.

05/04/19 To Not Tolerate the IntolerantTOC

How often have you heard some say “I will not tolerate the intolerant”. The real question I have for those that make this statement is “Who gets to determine what is intolerant?”. Everybody has a different definition of what is intolerant speech. If we utilize everybody's definition then there would be no free speech by anybody. Do we set up a commission that determines what speech is to be allowed or disallowed? Who and how would we determine the membership of this commission? How would we enforce the commission's rulings? What would be the penalties for violating the commission rulings? And how would it be possible to review what is said, either before or after what is said, to determine if it was intolerant? Without a commission, the only way to determine intolerant speech is by mob rule. And mod rule leads to an uncivil society that I have discussed in my article “A Civil Society”. Most of the times when I have heard this statement uttered it is by Progressives or Leftists who utilize this statement to shout down or shut down the free speech rights of their opponents. This also leads to an uncivil society. Those who make this statement are really engaging in behavior that I have discussed in my article “Modern American Fascism” and, indeed, are themselves, intolerant people.

05/02/19 MAMATOC

When Presidential hopeful Joe Biden was asked if he had a theme like President Trump's "Make America Great Again," Biden replied, "Make America moral again." MAMA is a nice acronym for the Democratic Party, as they often espouse positions that advocate the government be responsible for making decisions for the individual that the individual should make for themselves. Just as your mama wants to tell you what to do and direct your life so does the Democratic party. Therefore, MAMA is the perfect acronym for the Democratic party.

04/27/19 Making PredictionsTOC

As the famous and brilliant physicist Richard Frymen once said, “String theorist don’t make predictions, they make excuses”. This is not a chirp on String Theory but a chip on making predictions. More specifically the making of predictions by political commentators, political pundits, pollsters, and economists. As all four of these activities are intertwined with human decision making, they are very unscientific and subject to change very quickly. How often have political commentators, political pundits, pollsters, and economists made a prediction that turned out to be wrong, and sometimes the opposite of what occurred? And how often have you heard them making an excuse as to why their prediction was wrong? Many would say that this occurs most of the time. Whenever you are predicting how the public will react you are more likely to be wrong than right. It is analogous to baseball hitting. A great baseball hitter is one who gets a hit once every three attempts, while the other hitters have a lesser average of hits. And so, it is with have political commentators, political pundits, pollsters, and economists making a prediction. They are more often wrong than right. A wise listener or reader will look at their past performance in making predictions to decide if they should be believed. Whenever you do this remember that the greats will only get one of three correct while most will have a worse performance. Any political commentators, political pundits, pollsters, and economists with a great average of predictions are more like to be right and most are more likely to be wrong. But keep in mind that over two-thirds of predictions will be wrong, so take a prediction with a grain of salt.

04/27/19 Weather, Weather EverywhereTOC

Everywhere you go there is weather. Good weather, bad weather, average weather, mild weather, cold weather, freezing weather, warm weather, hot weather, severe weather, storms, snow storms, rain storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. etc. etc.… And people are very interested in the weather, not only as it affects their lives but as it affects the lives of their family and friends and fellow citizens. This is as it should be, but it is just as important to retain your perspective of the weather. Do not assume the worst or best weather reports but assume the possibility of the best or worst weather reports.

In today’s weather reporting there is a propensity to hype the extremes of a weather report. This leads to good ratings, and increased revenues, for the weather reporters and media that reports on the weather. People get hyped and fearful that the worst is about to happen, and they react accordingly. These reactions are often not the best course of action and will often lead you to make irrational decisions. So, when you listen to a weather report do not assume the extremes but take precautions in the event the extreme occurs. The only caveat is when the authorities order an evacuation you should evacuate. To not do so is to endanger your life, health, and safety.

04/27/19 Precepts and PerspectivesTOC

In my many discussions with my cigar smoking buddies, we often discuss the issues of the day (along with sports, history, and other b.s.). During these discussions, I often keep in mind my observations on “Precepts”  and “Additional Perspectives” when discussing these issues. I believe we have a more thoughtful discussion when this occurs. I would encourage you to read these observations as I believe that these observations will make your discussions more levelheaded, and perhaps more harmonious.

04/25/19 The Green New DealTOC

Supporters of the Green New Deal exhibit their extensive lack of knowledge of science, engineering, and economics for believing that this is possible or practicable. They also have no idea of how energy is produced, distributed, and utilized. They fail to understand the life cycle costs, from mining, manufacturing, distribution, usage, and disposal of the materials utilized to produce energy that would result from the Green New Deal implementation. They also do not account for the economic impacts that The Green New Deal would inflict on people and commerce. The Green New Deals ranks with some of the most inane ideas proposed by politicians. No matter how a politician or supporter packages it, redefines it, or limit it. or lauds its goals it remains inane. I would encourage you to download and read the report “The New Energy Economy an Exercise In Magical Thinking” from the Manhattan Institute that examines this issue.

04/23/19 Euphemisms, Doublespeak, and DisingenuousnessTOC

Euphemism - An inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh abound in today’s politically correct speech. But euphemisms can be very dangerous when utilized in regard to national security and social policy. In order to solve a problem, you need to recognize that you have a problem, clearly define the problem, and then clearly state the solution. Euphemisms do not contribute to clarity and indeed are often utilized to obscure the problem. Euphemisms are often utilized when identifying groups of people in order not to offend members of the groups, or to be deceptive as to the parties who are part of the problem or who are the victims of the problem. Euphemisms are often a means to doublespeak - language that pretends to communicate but actually does not. Disingenuousness - not straightforward or candid; giving a false appearance of frankness - is often the result when euphemisms and doublespeak are utilized.

When euphemisms are utilized in national security situations, we cannot clearly address the problems and solutions to terrorism and international aggression. When it comes to violence perpetrators and victims need to be clearly defined to identify the source and targets of the violence. Euphemisms, doublespeak, and disingenuousness do not solve any problems, and they contribute to the problem or allow the problem to fester. Anyone who utilizes euphemisms, doublespeak, or is disingenuousness needs to be ignored in order to solve a problem.

04/21/19 It's Complicated as an ExcuseTOC

No its not! We only make it complicated to avoid facing the truth. And the truth is that a bad decision was made that you don't want to admit. Whether it be in our personal life, our family life, our work environment, or in our social life bad decisions are often made. Saying "it's complicated" relieves us of the burden of admitting we made a bad decision. But this is a burden that we should gladly accept. By admitting it to ourselves, and thinking about the bad decision, we can learn from our bad decisions and hopefully not repeat them. By admitting our bad decisions and learning from it we can also forgive ourselves. And by admitting them to others we not only help others learn from our bad decisions but it may lead us to forgiveness from others or possible redemption.

04/12/19 Societal HierarchiesTOC

Karl Marx decried Capitalism because it organized labor and management into hierarchies with labor the lowest rungs and management and ownership at the highest rungs, along with the distribution of wealth according to your position on this hierarchy. He thought that this was one of the biggest inequities of Capitalism and needed to be abolished. However, hierarchies are not a feature of Capitalism but a feature of Humanity. We, as humans, have always organized ourselves into hierarchies. Whether it was tribes that had a leader, enforcers, and followers, to governments that had kings, ministers, and commoners, we have always organized ourselves into hierarchies. Not only in government did this happen but in all areas of human activity i.e. commerce, entertainment, sports, armed forces, etc... Force or arms, inheritance, or wealth were often utilized to establish and maintain these hierarchies to the detriment of the common man. The difference in Capitalism is that ability was the prime driver in creating hierarchies. The person or persons who produced wanted goods or services at a lower cost rose in the hierarchy, while those who did not or faltered in doing so sank in the hierarchy. The positive effect of Capitalism was that all benefited by the goods or services at a lower cost. It also allows for any person who has a good idea, determination, perseverance, knowledge, and ability to move up in the hierarchy while those who did not have these capabilities to move down in the hierarchy, thus removing impediments to progress. Therefore, Capitalism is the best force for allowing equal opportunity for all, wealth redistribution, and human progress.

04/10/19 Personal DestructionTOC

Another impact of The Three D’s is the personal destruction of the character and reputation of the person who it is directed at. This occurs not only in the governmental arena but also in political commentary by non-governmental persons. The following examples from the governmental arena are the most current illustrations of this:

  • Attorney General William Barr
    Impugning his integrity because you didn’t like his legal opinions or asking him to break the law to achieve your political objectives seems to be the du jour means to achieve his personal destruction.
  • Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller
    Hero or villain from both sides depending on your political propensities, Robert Mueller has flip-flopped from hero to villain from both sides depending on what has been (falsely) reported on what he was doing or saying at the moment.
  • Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh
    Salacious, unverified, and unsubstantiated evidence was utilized to try to thwart his nomination to the Supreme Court. In the process, his reputation has been tarnished with no regard to due process, nor to the facts and truth of the allegations.
  • President Donald Trump
    The tactics utilized to harm President Trump and his administration have utilized the politics of Personal Destruction for political gain.

I have commented more extensively on this issue in my article "The Rule of Law in Non-Judicial Proceedings" which is a companion piece to this chirp. The upshot of this personal destruction is a loss of faith in the instruments of government and the integrity of the people who serve in the government. This is also true in the political commentary arena. The secondary impact is on the willingness of good and capable people to enter public office or expressing political opinions. Why would any sane person wish to undergo this personal destruction? Therefore, many good people are avoiding entering public service or expressing political opinions to the detriment of society.

04/10/19 Demonize, Denigrate, Disparage (The Three D's)TOC

When a conservative and liberal/progressive/leftists disagree, the conservative believes the liberal/progressive/leftists are wrong. However, the liberal/progressive/leftists often believes that the conservative is a racist, sexist, homophobic, mean-spirited or a money-grubbing person, amongst other epithets as I have explicated in my Article on the “Divisiveness in America”. The liberal/progressive/leftists then attempt to argue against a conservative position by utilizing the following Three D's tactics:

  • Denigrate: criticize somebody or something to make somebody or something seem unimportant.
  • Disparage: to refer disapprovingly or contemptuously to somebody or something.
  • Demonize: cause somebody or something to appear evil or threatening in the eyes of others.

The liberal/progressive/leftists utilize these tactics as arguments in order to intimidate a conservative into silence or to intimidate a listener through guilt into not paying attention to a conservative. This illustrates how intellectually bereft many of their ideas are. Either way, these methods of the liberal/progressive/leftists is a bulling attempting to win their argument not through reason or intellect, but by silencing all opposition. This is very bad for the body politick as it cannot lead to understanding, and possible compromise, with their opposition to achieve a reasonable solution to public policy. Indeed, it often leads to bitter partisanship as the liberal/progressive/leftists opponent feels oppressed, and the liberal/progressive/leftists feel righteous. The liberal/progressive/leftists will then demand bi-partisanship, and since they are righteous, and the opponent is not, the liberal/progressive/leftists policy should be adopted.

04/09/19 Comprehensive Immigration ReformTOC

Sign. Sigh. Sigh. Whenever I hear someone state that we need Comprehensive Immigration Reform I know that they are advocating a position that is not going to happen and are utilizing this term as a canard. It is not going to happen because it has not happened for several decades. It is a canard because those that utilize this term know that it will not happen. The different sides of this issue have different meanings as to what constitutes Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and their different meanings are contradictory and polarizing. Therefore, given the political gridlock of these sides there will be no Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and I do not expect it to happen unless one side or the other obtain legislative and executive authority in enough numbers to ignore the other side (much like Obamacare). What needs to be done, immediately, on immigration is to secure the borders from drug runners, gang members, human traffickers, and other criminal elements. We should all agree that needs to be done and needs to be done immediately. But again, given the political gridlock of these sides, this may not happen. I would, therefore, want each 2020 Presidential candidate to state clearly the executive actions they would take on securing the borders from drug runners, gang members, human traffickers, and other criminal elements. We could then leave it to the American voters to decide how they wish to secure the borders based on the candidate's position. But again, I do not expect that this will happen.

04/04/19 The Real Issues for the 2020 Presidential CampaignTOC

The Presidential campaign of 2020 is heating up. On the Democratic side there appears to be a race to the leftist positions and what the Government should provide for the American people. The other side (centrists and conservatives) would prefer a debate on what they believe are the important issues. I believe the following are the important issues that need to be discussed (in alphabetical order):

  • Border Security from drug runners, gang members, human traffickers, and other criminal elements
  • College Tuition and College Debt Reform
  • Economic Growth
  • Educational (K-12 & College) Reform
  • Epidemic of Drug & Alcohol Addiction
  • Erosion of Free Speech, Religious Liberty, Gun Rights, and other protections of the Bill of Rights.
  • Foreign Policy & Foreign Trade
  • Health Insurance (Medical & Prescription Drugs) Reform
  • Immigration Reform
  • Medicare and Medicaid Reform
  • National Security from Terrorism
  • Social Security Funding Reform
  • The National Debt

04/01/19 Democratic Party 2020 Presidential CandidatesTOC

Listening to the Democratic Party 2020 Presidential candidates’ positions I believe that the following list is a succinct summary of their positions (in alphabetical order):

  • Abolish the Electoral College
  • Abolishment of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Abortion on Demand (including live births after an abortion i.e. infanticide)
  • Agenda of Reparations
  • Allow Voting by Non-Citizens
  • Expand the Supreme Court
  • Free College Tuition and Tuition Debt Relief for All
  • Free Healthcare (Medicare & Medicaid) for All
  • Free Speech Limitations (i.e. hate speech restrictions, safe zones, microaggressions, etc.)
  • Gun Control
  • Implementation of the Green New Deal
  • Increased tax revenues on wealthier Americans
  • Lower the Voting Age to 16
  • Open Borders & Allow Unrestricted Immigration

These campaign positions do not seem to be consistent with someone who has sworn to “Preserve, Protect, and Defend” the Constitution and its concepts of Federalism, Limited and Enumerated Powers, Equality Under the Law and Equal Protection of the Laws, the Bill of Rights, as well as Liberty and Freedom for All. To the contrary, they sound as if their proponents believe that they can do whatever they think is proper irrespective of the Constitution. God help us if they are ever put in a position of power where they can impose their will in contradiction to the Constitution. For if they do this, we will not be a free people but a people subservient to the government. Or perhaps, they are just perpetuation a “Foolie” on the American public.

04/01/19 To tweet or not to tweet? That is the question.TOC

President Trump is fond of tweeting and much of these tweets are of a harsh nature. I do not particularly care for this type of political discourse. However, given the unrelenting negative discourse and commentary of President Trump by most of the news media, entertainment, academic, and sports world, as well as his political opponent's outrageous statements about President Trump his tweeting may be the only way to reach the American public with his perspective. They are also a means to exhibit to the American public the biases and unfairness of his opponents. Until his opposition changes its approach to civil discourse his tweeting may be the only way to counterbalance his opponent's equally uncivil discourse.

04/01/19 The Creed of Progressives and LeftistsTOC

The Creed of Progressives and Leftists is that as they are more intelligent, better educated, and morally superior they are, of course, always correct. To oppose them not only makes you wrong, but it also means that you are evil. And being evil the opponents of Progressives and Leftists need to be silenced, driven from the public square and public forums, their livelihoods or careers threatened, and they are not to be allowed to hold any positions of social, economic, or governmental power. They can also have their private and family lives intimidated or menaced by physical violence, if not actual violence. Progressives and Leftists believe that to demonize, denigrate, or disparage their opponents is the primary and acceptable means to accomplish this.

04/01/19 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezTOC

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is, unfortunately, an excellent example of leftism in that she displays a comprehensive ignorance of economics, science, politics, history, and human nature. This ignorance is a condemnation of the American educational system that has become more interested in teaching its students what to think, and not how to think. It is also a condemnation of American society that has become more concerned about feelings rather than reasoning. As a result of these factors polite and respectful reasoned speech and writings are no longer considered an important attribute for the discussion of public policy. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other leftists are like the child in the supermarket that wines and throws temper tantrums to obtain the prettiest and shiniest object that attracts their attention. We should never give in to such a child as it only encourages further bad behavior. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is becoming the face of the Democratic Party and dragging them into politically untenable policy positions. In addition, the Democrats have been looking for a way to demolish the Republican Party, while the Republican Party have Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who will demolish the Democratic Party. Given that the Democratic Party is now in the throes of leftism that could destroy the American ideals of freedom and liberty perhaps we who espouse these ideals should cheer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on in the hopes that this will destroy the leftist Democratic Party.

04/01/19 FooliesTOC

In the Star Trek Episode (The Original Series) "Miri" the Enterprise responds to a distress signal from a planet in which all the adults have died and the children are living extended life spans. These children play a game called "Foolie" in which they can lie and/or be disingenuous to achieve their goals. Because these children had been without adult supervision for over three hundred years, the distinction between appropriate games and harmful violence had become somewhat blurred in their minds. To them, almost anything that amused them was acceptable behavior. And so, it is with modern leftists and many Democratic politicians. Never being taught what is acceptable behavior and speech, nor being chastised for inappropriate behavior or speech, leftist and Democratic politicians are constantly creating foolies. They believe they are so right in their opinions that foolies are appropriate to advance their causes. One of the reasons that freedom of the press was so important to our founding fathers was that they understood a free press would challenge what politicians and activists said or did. But as today's press is so sympathetic with leftist and Democratic politicians, they are no longer challenging the speech and actions of those that they agree with; indeed, many are supporting them. And until the press challenges the leftist and Democratic politicians’ actions and speech, they will continue to practice foolies on the American public.

04/01/19 Good for thee but not for meTOC

As the Bible says in Matthew 7:5 “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” Before you criticize or require someone to do something you need to examine your own life. Are you practicing what you preach, for if you are not you have no right to preach? To do so otherwise is to be a hypocrite. And if you preach it should be in a manner that is helpful, rather than demanding, of the other person(s). To demand that another does something is to make them subservient to your will. The only demands that you can place on another is to observe the human right of others and to obey the just laws necessary to establish and maintain a civil society. All other demands need to be cooperative and agreed upon rules and regulations for the benefit of all and not for some. If you wish to implement rules and regulations for others to follow you should follow these same rules and regulations in your own life before you insist that others follow them. Lead by example, not by dictates. And most important, faithfully keep to these rules and regulations in your own life. To not do this is to pronounce that something is “Good for thee but not for me”.

04/01/19 I don’t care if your feelings are hurtTOC

I don’t care if your feelings are hurt, as long as I am expressing reasonable and intelligent positions in a polite and respectful manner and doing so in an honest and truthful way. I care about my spouse, parents, and children’s feelings, and perhaps my other family and friends’ feelings may be, and I am sensitive to their feelings. However, I have no control over what you do, think, and feel. I can only control what I do, think and feel. Your response to what I may say and do is a reflection on your thoughts and feelings, not on my thoughts and feelings. You may also be misinterpreting what I do or say, or perhaps I may be miscommunicating. If I am miscommunicating something, I will accept a critique (but not a criticism) and will try to do better or restate my thoughts. But for you to say that your feelings are hurt is not a valid objection or argument to what I do or say. Only a reasonable and intelligent response done in a polite and respectful manner, and doing so in an honest and truthful way, is a valid response to what I do or say. To make hurt feelings a valid response will result in the shutting down of free speech as someone, somewhere, feelings may be hurt by what is being said or done.

04/01/19 Words and DeedsTOC

Words and deeds, or to pay attention to what one says or what one does. Too often in today’s society, we pay particular attention to what a person says and gloss over what a person does. It has become more important to communicate acceptably than to implement properly. The judgment of a person is often almost entirely based on what they say. But what a person says is not harmful (except emotionally) but what a person does can have positive or negative repercussions to all aspects of society. Therefore, we must pay more attention to the deeds of a person, and become more forgiving of what they say, if the deeds have positive repercussions. If the deeds have negative repercussions and the words are positive, we should be harsh in our judgment of the person. Of course, if both the words and deeds of a person have positive consequences, we should praise the person and elevate them into positions of responsibility within society. This judgment, of course, is very important for our political leaders. They must be held accountable for not only their words but their deeds. To ignore or discount one or the other in judging our politicians can be very harmful to society. Perhaps we should remember the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin – “Well done is better than well said.”

04/01/19 Both Sides Do ItTOC

Both Sides Do It (from my Observation on “Phrases”). Of course, both sides do it, in the human experience both sides do everything. That is the nature of humankind. Whenever there is an issue confronting our society the extremes of both sides of the issue will often use the same methodologies and techniques to attack the other side. So, therefore, the statement that both sides do it is irrelevant. The question is whether the mainstream and/or leadership of each side of the issue both do it and how much attention is paid to the extremes. In my experience, this is most obvious when dealing with Conservatism versus Progressivism or Leftism, Republican versus Democrat, left versus right, etc. What we should be asking is “are the mainstream and/or the leadership of each side are doing it?”. When you see one side or the other paying more heed, or engaging in extreme deeds or words, you need to weigh the balance. In weighing this balance, you need to not only make a determination of the number of words and misdeeds incidents, but also the tone of the deeds or words. If the balance is heavily tilted to one side than the phrase “Both Sides Do It” is not an equalizer, but an excuse to continue the extreme deeds or words by the one side engaged in these words or deeds.

04/01/19 HypocrisyTOC

Hypocrisy (from my Observation on “Phrases”). As Ben Franklin once said during the debate at the Constitutional Convention; "I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise." It is not hypocrisy if you change your mind based on better information or fuller consideration on an issue. It is hypocrisy when you change your mind based on trying to attain an advantage or political goal. Hypocrisy is a charge that should only be utilized by someone when they are flip-flopping their position to gain an advantage, rather than changing their position based on better information or fuller consideration. It is incumbent upon the politician who changes their position to explain the better information or fuller consideration on an issue that has led them to a change in their position, to assure that it is a true change and not hypocrisy.

04/01/19 Obfuscation, Smoke, and MirrorsTOC

In my Observation on “Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors” I point out that many who argue a political issue resort to Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors as a tactic. This tactic is the activity of obscuring people's understanding, leaving them baffled or bewildered and susceptible to accepting their conclusions. It is most often done by inserting oblique facts, nonsequiturs, exceptions to the rule, and the perfect vs. the practical. You should always go to the core issue of the argument and examine its meaning. When engaging in a debate blow away the Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors and get to the core issue. Determine the facts and truths of the issue, then debate the actions to be taken.

04/01/19 Putting Words into Another’s Mouth and a False DichotomyTOC

In my Observation on “A False Dichotomy” and “Putting Words into Another’s Mouth” I have commented on these tactics that are too often utilized in today’s political discussions and debates. This tactic is to rephrase or restate what someone has said in the most negative connotation possible or to add negative statements into another’s mouth. They will also establish their position, then assert the position of the other party at the extreme opposite of their position thus putting words into another’s mouth. The person who put the words into another’s mouth then goes on to criticize the words they put into someone’s mouth. This is a dishonest and despicable tactic and wholly inappropriate manner to debate political issues. It is often done to disparage, denigrate, or demonize someone in the hope that the audience will not pay attention to what the other person actually said. It is your responsibility to only speak your own thoughts and reasoning or to quote the words of another person. After both sides have laid out their reasoning and conclusions then it is fair to critique the others reasoning or conclusions, based on what they have stated, not what you have stated for them.

04/01/19 Not Answering the Question or Talking Points Ad NauseamTOC

In my Observation “Not Answering the Question or Talking Points Ad Nauseam” this technique is also utilized in today’s political discussions. Too often someone will ask a question of another and the answer to the question is to ignore the question and start iterating a talking point. Talking points that do not answer the question, but simply state the policy or position of the answerer. Sometimes the talking points are an answer to the question the answerer wanted to be asked, but not answering the question that was asked. Other times the answerer will respond by asking the questioner a question rather than answering the question. This is not really an answer but a deflection to not answer the question. The answerer should not get to ask a question until they answer the questioners’ question. After all, if the answerer is going to ignore the questioner's question then the questioner can ignore the answerer's question. These techniques are done in order to not answer a question, usually because the answer to the question would expose a weakness or illogic in the answerers’ policy or position. I find that these techniques are extremely frustrating as they do not illuminate the policy or position but obfuscate the policy or position. Therefore, whenever I listen to a debate or discussion where these techniques are utilized, I become very wary. I am also disturbed as this is an attempt to preclude the exchange of reasonable and intelligent discussion or debate on policies and positions. It also makes me reevaluate the person, and the policy and position, of the person who evoked these techniques. I would suggest that you do the same.

04/01/19 Torturous and Convoluted ReasoningTOC

As I have stated in my Observation “Torturous and Convoluted Reasoning” is another tactic used by those who engage in political debates. It is most often done to confuse the audience into accepting a conclusion that does not follow the facts or logic. It often contains many hidden assumptions that when they are exposed reveal the faultiness of the argument. When examining the argument, you should keep in mind a variation of Occam's Razor - “The simplest explanation, that fits all the known facts, is most often the correct explanation”.  Be suspicious when someone presents Torturous and Convoluted Reasoning to convince you of their conclusion. Examine the premises of the argument, seek out the hidden assumptions, assure that the logic of the argument contains no logical fallacies or cognitive biases before you accept the conclusions (as explained in my Observation on “Reasoning”). If you do this, you have a much greater chance of reaching the truth. A Torturous and Convoluted Reasoning argument may end up being true, but I would not bet on it.