The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson

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

Miscellaneous Items

The following are topics on which I felt the urge to pontificate, and some are extracts from my website "Observations on an Examined Life". I have deliberately kept these topics and extracts to short and pity comments that can be read in a few minutes. I have also targeted these items to a personal nature in that they deal with how to live your life and view pressing social concerns. I sincerely hope that you will take a few minutes to read and think about these topics. For your convenience I have added a icon to indicate those articles that have been recently added or modified.

The Constitution and the Law

  • Human and Constitutional Rights - A series of Articles that explores this issue:
    • Human Rights (Dec 2019) - Human rights are inviolate and reside within the individual. No government, society, institution, organization, or persons(s) may violate the human rights of an individual and be considered legitimate. These are my thoughts on Human Rights.
    •  Hierarchy of Rights (Mar 2020) – An examination of the hierarchy of rights of a U.S. citizen, and the interrelationship of these rights.
    • Bill Of Rights (Dec 2019) - The Bill of Rights were created to enshrine basic Human Rights into our Constitution. This article examines the Bill of Rights and its relationship to Human Rights.
    • The Four Freedoms (Dec 2019) - The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941. In an address known as The Four Freedoms Speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union Address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "Everywhere In The World" ought to enjoy. This article examine these Four Freedoms.
    • The Foundation of the Rights of the Common Man (Jan 2020) - Where did the ideals of freedom, liberty, equality, and justice for all, as we now understand them come from? What about the ideas of representative government, the rule of law, equal justice, property, and contracts? This article examines where these ideals and ideas came from.
  • A Just Government and a Just Society (Sep 2019) - 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.
  • Constitutional Protection of Rights and Just Laws (Mar 2020) - An examination of how our rights are protected in the U.S. Constitution.
  • Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Justice for All (May 2020) – An explanation of what I mean when I write or quote this subject.
  • Have We Lost Our Way? (Feb 2020) - The ideals and ideas of our founding principles as they relate to modern American governance and society are examined in this article.
  • Impeachment - A series of articles in which I examine impeachment and the current impeachment of President Trump. I would suggest that you review them from top to bottom to get a fuller understanding of my thoughts:
    • Impeachable Offenses (Oct 2019 update) - My thoughts on Impeachment, and how it relates to President Clinton and President Trump.
    • Impeachment Resolution (Oct 2019) - A companion piece to my Impeachable Offenses Article that examines the Resolution of the House of Representatives regarding the "impeachment" of President Trump.
    • Impeachment Hearings I (Nov 2019) - The real question for the Impeachment Hearings  is if President Trump was "Upholding the Rule of Law" or "Violating the Rule of Law", and if these are impeachable offenses as this article explains.
    • Impeachment Hearings II (Nov 2019) - We have seen a parade of appointed officials and civil servants testify. But they seem to be testifying as to their opinions, presumptions, or inferences, while not much evidence is attested. This article examines the evidence, opinions, presumptions, and inferences regarding Impeachment.
    • Impeachment Hearings III (Dec 2019) - What constitutes "Treason, Bribery, and High crimes and misdemeanors" as the House Judiciary Committee first hearing examines. This article examines my perspective on the answers to this question.
    • Impeachment Hearings IV (Dec 2019) - From Quid Quo Pro to Bribery, to Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Justice the Impeachment bandwagon rolls on. The current Articles of Impeachment that are being drafted reveal the House Democrats is examined in this article.
    • Impeachment Senate Trial I (Dec 2019) - Suggestions have been made, mostly by Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham, that the Senate trial of the Impeachment of President Trump be an abbreviated effort until the Senators can determine the guilt or innocence of President Trump. I strongly disagree! This short article examines my disagreements.
    • Impeachment Senate Trial II (Jan 2020) - Whether to allow new witnesses to testify in the Senate Trial of President Trump's Senate Impeachment trial is more than a question of evidence or fairness. It is also a Constitutional question as to the roles and responsibilities of the House and Senate in Impeachment. This article examines this question.
    • Impeachment Senate Trial III (Jan 2020) - President Trump's legal team has responded to the House Articles of Impeachment presented to the Senate.These are my thoughts on this response.
    • Impeachment Senate Trial IV (Jan 2020) - The new battle cry at the Impeachment of President Trump is the call for new witnesses. This article are my thoughts on this topic.
    • Impeachment Senate Trial V (Jan 2020) - The Senate will shortly be voting for the resolution on the Impeachment of President Trump.  This is the resolution that I would put forward and have the Senate pass.
    • The true meaning of the Senate vote on the Impeachment of President Trump (Jan 2020) -My thoughts on the meaning and impacts of the Impeachment of President Trump.
    • Impeachment Consequences (Feb 2020) - The foreseen and unforeseen future consequences of impeachment to our Republic. Consequences that may be far-reaching and perverse to our Constitutional Republic.
    • Political Discourse (Dec 2019) -In light of the impeachment proceedings against President Trump I have hyperlinked my Observation on Political Discourse, as it seems very apropos to these proceedings.
  • Inspector General Report on FISA Applications (Dec 2019) - My comments and concerns in the IG Report as to the FISA Court abuses into the investigation of Donald Trump during the campaign, transition, and the start of his Presidency.
  • Judges, Not Lords (Mar 2020) – An examination of the role of Judges in our Constitutional system.
  • Justice and The Rule of Law in America (Oct 2019). A longer than usual Article on my thoughts on this subject. However, it has five parts that are shorter and can be read independently from each other. These are my thoughts on this subject:
    • Just Process - Without Just Process, there can be no Justice. But a Just Process requires that several concepts and tenets be enforced for Justice to prosper.
    • Just Charging - The process of Justice begins with a Just Charge, for without being charged justly you cannot have Justice.
    • Just Trials - A Just Trial is essential for Justice. The rights of the defendant must be preserved, but the interests of the victim and their families must also be served.
    • Just Sentencing - We should also remember that laws are meaningless if there are no consequences or deterrence for violating them. This requires a Just Sentence.
    • Just Imprisonment and Parole - Finally, Imprisonments and Paroles must be justly applied. Not only for the inmates but for society and the victims as well.
  • Justice and The Rule of Law in Non-Judicial Proceedings (Oct 2019 update) - An examination of the concepts of The Rule of Law in political discourse and deliberations.
  • Limited and Enumerated Powers (Mar 2020) – An examination of the powers of the Federal Government and their application in today’s society.
  • The Failures of the Supreme Court (May 2019) - An examination of the integrity of the courts and incorrect or improper decisions in the latter half of the 20th century and continuing in the 21st century.
  • The Meaning Of - A series of articles in which I explain different aspects of the Constitution of the United States.
  • Where do we go from here? - Given what we have learned since our founding is it possible, or even necessary, to update our Declaration and/or Constitution. I have not made a determination if this is required, but I have prepared (for amusement purposes only) a revised Declaration of Independence and U.S Constitution that addresses many of the concerns I have expresses throughout my Observations and Articles.
    • A New Declaration of Independence (Sep 2019) -My thoughts on a rewriting of the Declaration of Independence to meet the needs of the 21st Century.
    • A New U.S. Constitution (Sep 2019) - My thoughts on a rewriting of the United States Constitution to meet the needs of the 21st Century.

Political and Economic Issues

  • A World of Words versus the World as It Is (Oct 2019) - An examination of the misuse of statistics, and the words misused to describe statistics, in today's political environment.
  • Dialog & Debate (Feb 2020) - In today's political environment Dialog and Debate have degenerate into the employment of tactics, tactics that do not provide illumination but instead generate heat. This is done to generate political points for electioneering purposes rather than an examination of the issue to reach an understanding. I, therefore, have extracted my Observation on Dialog and Debate for your illumination of these tactics.
  • Entitlements (Sep 2019) - Social Security, Healthcare (Medicare and Medicaid), Health Insurance, Food Stamps, Education, Public Housing, Aid to Dependent Children, Unemployment Benefits, etc., etc., etc... All of this was done with the good intention of helping people in need, during a time in which they could not afford to help themselves. This article examine the issues and concerns with "Entitlements".
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics - These articles examine the issues that I believe are misrepresented, misreported, and misunderstood in America. 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, Activists, and Journalists 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.
    • Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave (Nov 2018) - Knowing what is important, what is unimportant, and what is misleading when reviewing studies or statistics is crucial to discovering the truth.
    • The Biggest Falsehoods in America (September 2019) - This article examines the issues that I believe are misrepresented, misreported, and misunderstood in America.
    • Nazism and Fascism (Jan 2019) - An examination of the political and social basis of Nazism and Fascism.
    • Socialism is Acceptable - (Dec 2019) - The various way in which Socialism is Immoral, and the vices and virtues of Socialism and Capitalism.
    • Slavery and Discrimination rooted in Party Politics - (Dec 2019) - The Civil War - Slavery vs Freedom. North vs South, Industrial vs Agricultural, Union vs Succession are the common reasons given for the Civil War. There is great truth in these reasons, but the commonality of these reasons is Democrat vs. Republican party politics. This article looks at the history of this subject.
    • The Debt of Slavery and Discriminations (Dec 2019) - Slavery and Involuntary Servitude has existed throughout human history in all parts of the world. Slavery and Involuntary Servitude were in existence from the very discovery of America by Western Civilizations. This article cannot possibly go into the history of slavery in America, but I wish to comment on some specifics that are germane to the discussion of the Debt of Slavery and Discrimination.
  • Modern Journalism (Feb 2020) - Media Bias is so widespread today that it is widely recognized by the general public, and even journalists comment upon their lack of support by the general public. This is supported by all public polling, and even though I am not a believer in public polling, I can see this in how the public does not respond to journalism reporting. This article examines the reasons for journalism decline.
  • Practicing What You Preach (Aug 2019) - Discourse on the hypocrisy of those that are claiming "No One is Above the Law", and the dangers to the Rule of Law. when"No One is Above the Law"is unequally applied.
  • Red Flag, Yellow Flag, and No Flag (Aug 2019) - My thoughts on "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.
  • Reparations (Apr 2019) - What is the morality of reparations is examined in this article.
  • Should the Civil Service be Abolished? (Jan 2020) - An examination of how the modern Civil Service has devolved into an unresponsive, indeed resistive entity, to the will of the people as expressed through elections.
  • Social Policy (Mar 2019) - i.e. the betterment of the people through governmental action, has many concerns when formulating and implementing the policy. This article explores the questions that need to be asked when formulating a social policy.
  • Tariffs - A Double Entry Ledger (Jun 2019) - The pro and cons of imposing tariffs.
  • The Devil is in the Details (Jan 2020) - The Devil is in the Details is a truism that must always be remembered when considering an issue in our personal, work-related, or public lives. In this article I consider four devils; The Bottom Line, The Debatable, The Verbal versus the Written, and The Philosophical versus the Practicable.
  • The Law of Unintended Consequences (Nov 2019) - The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people and especially of government always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended, in its outcomes of unexpected benefits, unexpected drawbacks, and perverse results.
  • There is Nothing democratic About the Democrat Party (Feb 20) - All political organizations are Oligarchies, including the Democrat and Republican Parties. The difference is in the power structure of the leadership of the parties. Does the power structure rule from the top-down or lead from the bottom-up? This article examines this topic as it relates to the current Democrat and Republican Parties.
  • To Be Rulers or to Be Leaders (Apr 2020) – An examination of the differences of rulership and leadership regarding our current politicians' words and deeds.
  • Tyranny Disguised as Virtue and Compassion (Apr 2019) - How Virtue and Compassion can become Tyranny.

Social Issues

  • A Civil Society (Oct 2018) - For thousands of years, western society has grappled with what constitutes a civil, legal, and just society. These are my thoughts on this subject.
  • Attack the Messenger (Oct 2019 update) - When the message is troubling a common counterpoint is to attack the messenger. These are my thoughts on this subject.
  • Do the Ends Justify the Means? (Feb 2020) - When do the ends justify the means? This can be a very difficult question to answer, and it is often not black or white. Almost always the answer is no but is some cases it can be yes. This article broadly addresses this question.
  • Divisiveness in America (Aug 2019) - An extermination of the causes and culprits for this divisiveness
  • Equal Pay for Equal Work (May 2019) - Equal pay for equal work is a noble ideal, but as always, the devil is in the details. Here are some of the details.
  • Indoctrination versus Education (September 2019) - An examination of one of the biggest failures in our educational system.
  • Modern American Fascism (May 2019) - An examination of what constitutes Fascism in modern America.
  • O say can you see (Jul 2019) - A perspective on respecting the National Anthem.
  • Oppressive Patriarchal Hierarchy Society (May 2020) – An examination of hierarchical societies and their application in America.
  • Public Education (May 2019) - The issues and concerns regarding Public Education in America.
  • R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (Oct 2019) - It is natural to respect someone who behaves in a Legal, Moral and Ethical manner. But what of respect for those who falter or for politicians? This article examines these issues.
  • Sexual Harassment (Oct 2018) - A perspective on this subject.
  • Slander & Libel on Social Media and Journalism (May 2019) - In the 21st century we have entered into the era of social media and 24 hour news cycles. While this has provide much benefits to the consumer there has been a downside to this era. This articles examines these downsides and what we can do to correct this situation. 
  • Social Media (May 2019) - Social media is ubiquitous in today's society. Here are some of the personal issues and problems I see on social media.
  • The Three D's (Demonize, Denigrate, Disparage) of Modern Political Debate (May 2019) - How modern political debate has deteriorated into name calling.
  • You Can Do and Say Whatever You Want ? (Nov 2109) - An examination of the propriety of what people do or say, and the role of truth, facts, and propriety in what people do or say.

Odds and Ends

  • A Philosophical Approach (Feb 2020) - My reasoning on why a philosophical approach is the best means to resolve the issues and concerns that beset modern America.
  • Analogizing and Conflating (Oct 2019) - To analogize or to conflate are proper techniques of debate if they are utilized properly. However, in today's political debates they are often used improperly, as they are not analogized or conflated properly. This article illuminates this topic.
  • Be the Better Person (Sep 2018) - What to do when "Shit Happens".
  • Change and/or New (Sep 2018) - The call of changed rings throughout the land and here is my cautionary opinion on this topic.
  • Cognitive Abilities and the Value of a Human Being (May 2019) - My thoughts on a looming social problem of the cognitive abilities needed for a mechanized and technological 21st century workforce.
  • Cult of Youth (Jun 2019) - I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.
  • Dead White Men (Jan 2019) - Much has been said and written about the importance of dead white men in regards to modern times. Here is my succinct thoughts.
  • Is It Time to Purchase Greenland? (August 2019) - An examination of the costs and benefits, for all parties, if the United States purchased Greenland.
  • Lies and Beliefs (Sep 2018) - My thoughts on "Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics" and "Just because you believe something to be true does not make it true".
  • Math (and statistical mathematics) is More than Numbers (October 2019) 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.
  • Que Sera, Sera (Dec 2019) - A beautifully simple lyrics and music that has inspired many people.This article explains my interpretation of this song.
  • Reasoning (Feb 2020) - To properly reason you need to understand Formal and Informal Logic, Logical Fallacies, Cognitive Biases, and Common Sense. These must always be ascertained and incorporated for a rational debate to occur. You must also be aware of how to utilize common sense appropriately. This article is an outline of Formal and Informal Logic, Logical Fallacies, Cognitive Biases, and Common Sense.
  • Sins of the Fathers and of Youth (Sep 2018) - Who bears the responsibility and recriminations for the words and deeds of relatives and youth.
  • Situational Ethics and Moral Dilemmas (Dec 2018) - As I have stated in other articles, I have tried to live my life in an ethical and moral manner. There are, however, situational ethics and moral dilemmas in which there are no easy answers. This article examines some of these particulars and their potential consequences.
  • The Fundamental Properties of Humanity (May 2019) -An examination of the fundamental properties of humans; human nature, economics, and energy.
  • The Troubles with TED Talks (update Oct 2019) - The issues and concerns about TED Talks.
  • Vive La Difference (Mar 2019) - An examination of the differences between men and women.
  • Who are you to Judge? (Sep 2018) - To judge, or not to judge, that is the question?
  • Why is there so much poverty? (May 2019) - An examination of poverty and its causes and solution throughout history.

Excerpts

The following items are excerpts from a book I have written "Observations on an Examined Life". They are self contained items and need not be read in context of my book. The other items above are somewhat self-contained but may need the additional context of the book.

  • Addiction (Sep 2018) - My personal experience and perspective on Addiction.
  • Depression & Anxiety (Sep 2018) - My personal experience and perspective on Depression & Anxiety.
  • Introverted (Sep 2018) - My personal experience and perspective on Introversion.
  • May Peace Be Upon You (Sep 2018) - The short and long eulogies that I have written.
  • Mental Illness (Sep 2018) - My personal experience and perspective on Mental Illness.
  • Pornography & Prostitution (Mar 2019) - If prostitution is the world's oldest profession, then pornography is the world's oldest occupation. These are my thoughts.
  • Public Speaking (Sep 2018) - A guide to overcoming your fear of public speaking from someone who has accomplish this feat.

A Personal Note

You may be wondering about my qualifications to pontificate on these subjects. I believe that I am qualified because I am a thinking human being. I utilize my knowledge and experience in life, as well as researching both the facts and opinions of others, including those with whom I may disagree. I then apply my reasoning and logical skills to reach an opinion. And it is just my opinion which I readily admit. I am also willing to admit that I may be wrong, and if I discover that I am wrong I am just as readily willing to change my opinion. Therefore, check-back every so often to determine if I have changed my opinion which can be determine by the date of the article.

The incandescent light bulb has often been described as a heat source that provides some light, given that a light bulb generates more heat than it does light. In today's public debates we often find the proponents of an issue providing a lot of heat and only a little light. These observations are meant to provide illumination (light) and not argumentation (heat).

Opponents in today's society often utilize the dialog and debate methodology of Demonize, Denigrate, and Disparage their opponent when discussing issues, policies, and personages. To demonize, denigrate, or disparage the messenger to avoid consideration of the message is not acceptable if the message has supporting evidence.

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.

I would ask anyone who disagrees with what I have written here to please keep this disagreement civil. I am open to critique and will sometimes take criticism. I will always ignore demonization, denigration, and disparagement, or point out the vacuous nature or the character flaws of those that wish to silence the messenger rather than deal with the message.

Please remember that if you disagree with the messenger it is not acceptable to kill the messenger. You may kill the messenger, but the message will remain. If you have any comments, concerns, critiques, or suggestions I can be reached at mwd@profitpages.com. I will review reasoned and intellectual correspondence, 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).