Saturday, May 26, 2018

Is the United States a Democracy or a Police State?

In a democracy elected officials control the police..  In  a police state, the police can tell elected officials what to do.   In a democracy elected officials can fire police leaders.   In a police state police leaders cannot be fired by the officials the people have  elected to supposedly run the government.   

'In a police state Gestapo like police may terrorize political figures by invading their homes in the middle of the night like Robert Mueller did to .Paul J. Manafort.  In a police state KGB like police may plant spies in political organizations like the Department of Justice did to Donald Trump.

Those who talk about the rule of law sometimes forget the most important of our laws are devoted to preventing misuse of the police powers to  harass and intimidate political figures.  One of the most important of these protections is the requirement that those making accusations be identified so the accused can challenge the charges.   The accused may know that the accuser is likely to lie.   Basing an investigation of a political candidate on an anonymous source violates the spirit if not the letter of this constitutional protection.

The most important of our laws is the United States Constitution.  Article 2 of the United States Constitution states:  " The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."

The Constitution does not allow sharing of power with the Attorney General, the FBI Director or any other law enforcement official.   Article 2 prohibits any law enforcement official from interrogating a president or trying to indict one.  Such an action would be equivalent to an attempt to overthrow the government.   Allowing the sharing of power would take away the people's power to control law enforcement,

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Reducing Nicotine in Cigarettes Is an Extremely Bad Idea

The Food and Drug Administration's proposal  to gradually reduce nicotine levels in tobacco to discourage smoking is an extremely bad idea which won't help anyone and could hurt some.  Smoking may appear unattractive to non-smokers, but smokers may be doing what is best for someone with their genetic brain structure.

I have never had any connection to the tobacco industry.  I have never smoked, owned any tobacco company assets or worked in a facility that sold tobacco products.  People I cared about have died from medical conditions associated with tobacco use.

On a personal level I don't understand how people can enjoy smoking, but then smokers might not understand why I like jalapeno slices in my breakfast eggs. 

Unlike anti-tobacco fanatics I understand that differences in our brain genes can cause us to march  to the beats of different drummers.     One of the most important differences involves the  Dopamine Receptor gene DR4 which some call the risk taker gene because those with a certain form of the gene are more prone to risk taking.    Those with the risk taker form of the gene need a greater level of excitement possibly because they have more receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine.

The risk taker gene is essential in hunter / warrior societies because male members of the society must be willing to face danger to feed and protect other members of the society.   The risk taker gene may also affect decisions to move to another country or to the American frontier. .

The people who attempt to discourage young people from smoking don't recognize that their publicity campaign may actually be encouraging young risk takers to try smoking.  Potentially dangerous activities appeal to  those with the risk taker gene because doing something dangerous is exciting. Surviving  doing something dangerous provides a feeling of accomplishment.  Telling young risk takers that smoking is dangerous makes smoking an attractive activity.

Those with the risk taker gene are prone to alcoholism and drug addiction indicating they may need a chemical stimulation for their DR4 receptors.  Fortunately there is another chemical that can provide this stimulation.   Nicotine can provide an alternate chemical for at least some of those with the risk taker gene without the dangerous side effects of alcohol or drugs.   Users of alcohol or drugs can lose control of their behavior  Smokers retain control over their behavior.

The conventional view is that nicotine independently causes people to become addicted to it.    The reality might be more complicated.  Some people may have a need for special chemicals that have a certain impact on their well being.  We all are "addicted to" some chemicals such as vitamins.  It might be that people with the risk taker  gene have more specialized needs. 

This post is too short to provide definitive answers, but it could provide a guide for additional research into the possibility that for those with the risk taker gene smoking might be a beneficial activity.  The potential heath threat is less than the threat posed by a high fat diet or drinking and driving.    Smokers generally live long enough to retire   Incidentally, I recently saw an ad indicating some lawyers believe that many lung cancers blamed on smoking might actually be the result of asbestos exposure.  

 

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mass Deporting of Dreamers and Other "Illegals" Would Help No One and Hurt Everybody

Mass deportations of Dreamers and other illegal immigrants would be irrational because it would involve substantial economic cost without providing any  economic benefit.   The closest thing to a benefit the action would provide is that it would provide some happiness to those psychological misfits who are  obsessed with obeying laws regardless of the consequences.  

 "Illegal" immigrants are fully integrated in the economy,    The economy is partly dependent on their spending.   If an epidemic or a military attack were to kill 10, million Americans the economic impact could be devastating.  The deportation  of a similar number of people would have the same effect.  The money they spend in retail businesses affects the number of employees those businesses can employ.    A reduction in consumer spending would force retailers to lay off people.  Manufacturers of consumer goods,  clothing and  highly processed foods would  have to cut production because of reduced demand.    Layoffs at these firms and by retailers would further reduce demand.  Local governments often depend on sales tax revenue that would fall if too many consumers were removed from the city.

Stock traders often over react to events that hurt businesses.  They often  act like a herd of nervous cattle and stampede if any thing threatens stock prices. When stock prices are high, traders begin to worry that prices are too high and they will jump at the first sign  of a price drop.  Obviously, traders would sell retail stocks if they knew retail sales would drop even if the anticipated drop would only be a few per cent.   Sellers would try to get the best price  possible, but if many wanted to sell,  there could be a shortage of buyers which would mean a major drop in price.

Government could set up a procedure to determine whether individual immigrants are worthy of  being allowed to stay.  As with any group of people, some illegal immigrants are having a positive impact  on our society and some are having a negative impact.  The federal government should encourage those who are having a positive impact to stay to help replace the 10,000 baby boomers who retire every day.

Congress should discourage those who have a negative impact by imposing a mandatory ten year jail sentence on those who come here illegally and engage in violence, theft or sale of drugs before deporting them.  Deporting them without a jail sentence would accomplish nothing because they would likely find a way to come back. 

Congress could set up a point system for evaluation of immigrants.  Those immigrants who are already here can be evaluated more easily than those who are still living in other countries  Emphasis should be on families because those adults with families are inclined to want a good place for their families to live  A family could earn points by being employed,  learning English and participating in religious or civic organizations. Public safety jobs such as military or fire fighting would provide extra points.   Children could earn points for the family by doing well in school including participating in  extracurricular activities such as sports or music. 
  
Many Americans have long believed that God helps the United States  Those  politicians who share this view should consider the possibility that God has helped the Dreamers and their families to avoid being caught and deported.  Perhaps God has placed the Dreamers here to replace the babies who have been aborted.

Taxpayers have been investing $10,600 per student per year to educate the dreamers so they can eventually replace retiring  workers.  Deporting Dreamers would throw away that investment.

There is a popular myth that those who don't pay an income tax don't pay taxes. Income tax is only one of the taxes Americans pay.  Those who are living in or visiting America pay visible taxes such as sales taxes along with hidden taxes   Business owners sometimes point out that businesses don't  pay taxes  Their customers do  The money a business pays in taxes ultimately comes from customers. The money employees  pay in taxes also comes from customers   Many of the customers who  provide the money to cover business and employee taxes are here illegally.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Firing of Corrupt FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Long Overdue

2015 Hillary Clinton ally Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe helped finance the unsuccessful state senate campaign of Andrew McCabe's wife.   After the election  FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe took over an investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's mishandling of official emails  and not surprisingly decided that Clinton hadn't done anything illegal.   McCabe also  pushed the stupid anti- Russia witch hunt which is actually helping Russia by discrediting American presidential elections

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Is Robert Mueller Doing What President Putin Wants Done?

Is Robert Mueller Doing What President Putin Wants Done?

I've never given any serious consideration to the ridiculous claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin coordinated actions with Donald Trump's organization to help Trump win the election.    The scenario that proponents of this fantasy describe sounds too much like a possible plot for a Leslie Nielsen or Don Adams comedy spy movie.

Putin was with the KGB.   There is no way he would have conducted such an amateurish operation if he had wanted to help Donald Trump win.  He would not have had anyone who could have been   identified as being associated with the Russian government contact  the Trump campaign to coordinate activities.

I doubt that Putin would  have wanted a strong willed leader like Trump running the United State.     However, Putin might have had Russians contact members of Trump's organization in the hopes stupid Americans would misinterpret the actions as involving Russian assistance to Trump and then possibly try to oust Trump.    

Putin is likely aware of how much the assault on President Richard Nixon benefited the old Soviet Union.  The removal of Nixon weakened the United States and created opportunities for the Soviet Union and its allies.   North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam and the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.    Iraniian students overthrew the U.S. backed Shah of Iran and invaded the American embassy  The Soviet Union then was able to develop a relationship with the former U. S. ally.  

If what Putin would likely call the "American secret police"   overthrows Trump,  Putin could claim the action means the United States presidential elections are a farce   He would say if Americans don't vote or someone the secret police approve of the secret police will remove him." 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

President Trump Should Fire Incompetent Mueller

Robert Mueller is supposed to be investigating Russian hackers who were spying on political emails during last year's election, but reporters with the Associated Press are doing a better job than he is.

The AP reported last week that the Russian hacking group Fancy Bear was spying on more than just political emails and  FBI .leaders knew it.  The FBI failed to warn the vast majority of hackers' targets that the Russians were reading their emails.   The FBI allowed the Russians to spy on the emails of   "the former head of cybersecurity for the U.S. Air Force. An ex-director at the National Security Council. A former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency."  Targets included a manager working on the stealth fighter program.

Meanwhile Mueller was getting Michael Flynn to admit he lied to the FBI about a legitimate meeting with the Russian ambassador that occurred after the election.   Having aides of the President-elect meet with foreign diplomats can prepare their government for any change in policy and help the incoming president avoid actions that might adversely affect relations between the countries.

The situation reminds me of an old Warner Brothers cartoon about a family of buzzards.  The mother sends her children out to bring back some fresh meat.   One brings back a horse.   Another brings a cow.  The younger one is shown flying along holding a bee in its talons and proudly singing: "'I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee.   Won't my mommy be so proud of me."  Last week the AP brought back a whale and Robert Mueller brought back a baby bumble bee,

Mueller has spent millions on what would be called a dry hole in Texas oil country.   The  Associated Press has brought in a gusher.   The AP has discovered what may be the greatest act of espionage involving federal employees since the theft of atomic bomb secrets in the forties.  

President Donald Trump should either replace Mueller's team with people who have never worked for the Justice Department or drop the investigation

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Do Roy Moore's Accusers Have False Memories?

The human brain is an unreliable memory device.  It can forget events that happened and remember events that didn't. 

  I don't know  if the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by Ray Moore 40 years ago are true or not.   I do know that it is unlikely he would remember such casual affairs so many years in the past.  Many men would forget such affairs in weeks, if not days.   A young woman might consider an older man's attention significant,  but to the older man the young woman is just another warm body who might be used and forgotten.

It is possible Moore doesn't remember the incidents because they didn't occur except in the brains of his accusers.  False memory can play a role in allegations of sexual abuse of young people.  Women and men sometimes falsely imagine they have had a  sexual relationship with someone that didn't actually occur.   Talk show host David Letterman once had  a problem with a woman who thought she was his wife.   A  woman who was convinced she was married to singer Michael Jackson even challenged his will in court.  

False memories in women can begin as sexual fantasies with "rape fantasies".    Men sometimes misinterpret the concept as an indication that women want to be raped.    Such fantasies might be more accurately described as "action adventure" fantasies.    Males may fantasize about athletic achievements  or perhaps imagine themselves as someone like James Bond or Marshall  Matt Dillon.   Females seem less inclined to fantasize about being involved in sports or fighting evil doers which leaves contact with men as the potential subject of physical fantasies.

The accounts given by Moore's accusers Leigh Corfman  .   and Beverly Young Nelson fit a pattern which could indicate they are fantasies.    The plots of each involve a dangerous encounter with an older man in which each accuser escapes without being raped.  Each is a damsel in distress who in effect rescues herself.  

Memories can be affected by drug and alcohol abuse.    Leigh Corfman's  use of drugs and   alcohol might have affected her memory of events from her youth to the extent that she might be  confusing
an old fantasy with an actual event.  

Television  can also affect memories of past events.  Watching a program multiple times can lead to stronger memories of  an event depicted on the program regardless o whether the event is real or fictional.  Seeing a fictional event that is similar to an actual event or a fantasy event could result in the brain combining the events.  As I read Nelson account of what she believed happened to her I saw two brief images. One video segment  was a woman who seemed to be struggling.   The other was of a car leaving an area in a hurry.