Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Blockchain Solution To Gun Violence

Nearly every recent mass shooting involved a gunman who obviously should have been flagged and prevented from owning guns.  Unfortunately, there are numerous legal and structural barriers keeping us from proactively doing that today.  The current background check system only works after a crime has been committed, and by then it's usually too late.  And that's the best case scenario.  In reality, even after crimes are committed many instances go unreported, and gunmen still gain access to weapons.

These gaps have exasperated enough people to the point they are willing to eviscerate the second amendment, a politically charged and time-consuming process.  Therefore, closing the gaps in our current background check system and better tracking gun transfers seems like a good place to start today.

Putting aside the legal issues for a moment, the weak link in keeping guns from unstable people is the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  NICS only works if every crime is properly recorded, and even then it is subject to the inherent flaws of any centralized database.  Blockchain would enable multiple entry points that could be cross-checked for accuracy and the information would be distributed to many nodes that would also be cross-checked.  Inputs and outputs would be more reliable and accessible, and no single failure could bring the system down. 

A simple, though imperfect, blockchain analogy is the way digital photos are handled today.  Some people take photos with one device and keep them on only one device.  If either device fails, they are out of luck.   Others take photos on multiple devices and store them in the digital cloud creating a coherent record of all photos taken.   Blockchain takes that one step further and maintains the photos on multiple clouds. 

In addition, blockchain technology can effectively track gun transfers, make FBI and local police tip lines more useful, and integrate mental health warnings into the NICS.  Of course, new laws including due process and privacy firewalls would need to be established for these changes to be implemented. 

The following paper on gun control and blockchain was written by:

Thomas F Heston, MD, FAAFP
Associate Professor, Washington State University, Spokane, Washington USA
November 13, 2017

It makes a strong case for implementing blockchain technology with our current gun laws. 
Abstract:   Blockchain technology can be utilized to improve gun control without changing existing laws. Firearm related mortality is at epidemic levels in the United States and not only has a significant impact upon public health, it also creates a large financial burden. Suicide is the most common way guns kill. Through better gun tracking and improved screening of high risk individuals, this technological advance in distributed ledger technology will improve background checks on individuals and tracing of guns used in crimes. 

Please read the whole thing here:  A Blockchain Solution to Gun Control and fwd it as you see appropriate.

Also, here's a short video for those completely unfamiliar with the concept behind blockchains. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

How Good Intentions Helped LEAD to Parkland [UPDATED]

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  That was never more true than in Parkland, FL, where a deranged 19 year old murdered 17 people at his former high school.  Thanks to the good intentions of programs like "Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion" (LEAD), "Data Driven Justice" (DDJ), and "Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education" (PROMISE), the deranged gunman was kept out of the criminal justice system despite 39 at least 45 warnings to local law enforcement, two three very specific tips to the FBI, about 40 visits to the shooters home, a desperate call from the shooter himself, and several crimes previously committed.  Despite all that, he remained free to buy a gun, enter a school, and commit a massacre. 

The pop media's approach to covering these lapses has been mostly to ignore them and blame the gun.  When the lapses are acknowledged, they are conveniently attributed to incompetence.  Unfortunately, these "lapses" were not incompetence.  They were deliberate.  They were pre-meditated.  

It all started in Seattle in 2011 when that city began experimenting with a program called LEAD.  LEAD was designed to "divert" low level criminals away from the criminal justice system and thus save them from the bad outcomes associated with incarceration and stigmatization.  The theory was that minority students were disproportionately ending-up in the criminal justice system and thus were unfairly being hurt.  Of course the premise was completely flawed, but that never stopped a government from acting.  Instead of being treated as criminals, these supposedly low level offenders were sent back to their schools and communities where cops, administrators and social workers were supposed to deal with them away from the criminal justice system.  Cities and states run by politicians of all stripes adopted versions of LEAD during the Obama administration, which took up the mantle and promoted its own expanded version called "Data Driven Justice" (DDJ).  Broward County adopted their own program called PROMISE in 2016.  

Here's a press release from Barack Obama's press office touting the fabulous money saved, the lower crime rates, and the freed-up jail space due to their DDJ program in of all places, the county adjacent to Broward County, Florida:
For example, Miami-Dade, Florida found that 97 people with serious mental illness accounted for $13.7 million in services over 4 years, spending more than 39,000 days in either jail, emergency rooms, state hospitals, or psychiatric facilities in their county.In response, the county provided key mental health de-escalation training to their police officers and 911 dispatchers. Over the past 5 years, Miami-Dade police have responded to nearly 50,000 calls for service for people in mental-health crises, but have made only 109 arrests, diverting more than 10,000 people to services or safely stabilizing situations without arrest.The jail population fell from over 7,000 to just over 4,700, and the county was able to close an entire jail facility, saving nearly $12 million a year.
They saved $12 million!  Isn't that great?  And made only 109 arrests from 50,000 calls!  Isn't that awesome?  This was about the same time when the local police were being called to the gunman's home 39 times for violent, and sometimes criminal, behavior!  

PROMISE, LEAD, DDJ, and similar programs started out as a way to "divert" low level criminals away from prison and it's negative consequences.  Though they started with good intentions based on a bogus premise, the programs quickly became a way to save money, show improved crime statistics, and arbitrarily lower incarceration rates.  Let me repeat: the lapses in Broward County LEADing to this massacre were deliberate attempts to save money and show better crime statistics so politicians could brag and win votes.

PROMISE, LEAD and DDJ need to be exposed and become part of the corrective action taken to prevent further tragedies like Parkland.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Do You Really Want to Stop School Shootings? [UPDATED]

You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?  (Hint: It’s the definition of insanity.) Here’s a radical but eminently logical proposal to finally stop the kind of school shooting that just killed 17 innocent people in Parkland, FL.:  Vote Republican!

I know, I know, you think Republicans are the problem.  Heck, they’re the NRA party, right? How can they possibly fix this?  Bear with me and I’ll explain...   

Democrats have had filibuster proof majority control of the federal government for 25 of the last 100 years.  That’s 25 years where Democrats held the Presidency, the House, and had at least sixty votes, or 66% prior to 1975, in the Senate.  Republicans have NEVER had control like that in over 100 years.  The score is 25 to 0.  Without a sixty-vote margin in the Senate, there is no real “control” of the legislative agenda.

The last time Democrats had sixty votes was way, way, back during... the Obama administration.  They could have done anything they wanted on guns a few years ago!  So what did they do?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

To understand why Democrats did not fix the “gun” problem and Republicans absolutely will, it is instructive to know who their respective voters are:  

The Democrat voting coalition is made-up largely of groups who are on some level dependent on the government.  Among them are the poor, the oligarchs, union members, government employees, social liberals, and single parent families. Democrats accrue power by maximizing the number of people who are dependent on the government.  

The Republican voting coalition is largely made-up of individuals who seek independence from the government.  Among these voters are the religious, much of the middle class, small and mid-sized business people, social conservatives, and nuclear families.  Republicans accrue power by creating more independent people.  

Now, who do you suppose wants people to live in fear of someone getting into a school and killing their kids?  Could that be why Democrats did nothing when they had the power 25 years in the last 100?  Could that be why an NRA supported bill since 2007 that would have prevented dangerous homicidal maniacs from obtaining guns has never been passed?  Could that be why every time there is legislation to screen these people, Democrats insert a poison pill to kill it? 

Democrats will never fix the problem because the incentives are for them to keep people scared, vulnerable, and dependent.  Give Republicans the Presidency, the House, and over sixty votes in the Senate for the first time in over 100 years and this problem gets fixed pronto (along with many others).  Or, keep voting Democrat and watch more kids die.  Your choice. 

From Hot Air 2/28/2018:

WaPo: Why Are Senate Dems Torpedoing Their Own Gun Bill?

As predicted, Democrats are killing their own "Fix NICS" bill!  They have no interest in fixing the problem because they are Democrats, and to keep power they need as many insecure, dependent, and helpless people as possible.  Fixing things is anathema to their mission.

From USA Today 4/10/2018
By Glenn Reynolds

Looking for 'solutions' to mass killings? Start with punishing failure.



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Useful Idiots, Revisited

Now that we know the American Left fell for the Russian disinformation campaign hook, line, and sinker, it's time to revisit the video below.   Apparently, cable news nets like MSNBC and CNN promoted Russian led protests against Donald Trump, and Leftist agitators like Michael Moore actively participated.  Vladimir Lenin and his comrades had a term for western Leftists who wittingly and unwittingly aided the Soviet Communists: they called them "useful idiots".

ICYMI, here's my Obama era version of this phenomenon: 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Drug Reactions and Mass Shootings [UPDATED]

Here we are again mourning the loss of innocents gunned-down by a crazed gunman.  And yet again the focus is on guns.  But what is often lost in the political fog of war is the fact that we've had guns and the second amendment for a long time, yet we never had these mass shootings by crazed gunmen until the advent of mass marketed psychotropic drugs.

We don't know enough after two days to connect the dots in this recent school shooting case.  Heck, we still don't know anything about the Las Vegas shooter, and it's been almost half a year!

But right after the Vegas shooting I read the most amazing account of psychotropic drugs by author John Ringo.  His personal experience with psychotropic drug reactions is frightening. His otherwise sweet, loving wife goes full violent psycho after taking Cymbalta for a while.  Read the whole thing, but here is a taste:
Miriam [my wife] is a 'limited case pharmacological phenotype.' What does that mean? You know where on the warning label it says: 'in rare cases may cause you to grow two heads and fly to the moon'? Miriam is 'rare cases.' Every single time she tries a new prescription drug (fill in reason here) she is 'rare cases.'
This involves the 'in rare cases' effect of a drug called Cymbalta. Notably, as Cymbalta NOW states 'in rare cases may cause homicidal or suicidal psychotic break. Should not be prescribed to teenagers.' (Because it turns out in MOST cases WILL cause psychotic break in teenagers.) 
We don't know at this time if either shooter was on any of these drugs, and unfortunately our HIPAA privacy laws make it impossible to obtain medical records and do accurate research on this subject, even after a shooter is dead!  THIS MUST CHANGE.   

Here's an article from 2013 correlating SSRIs and other psychotropics with just about every mass shooting up to that point.  Amazing.

Here's the list from that article:

  • Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold's medical records have never been made available to the public.
  • Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather's girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.
  • Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
  • Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
  • Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
  • Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
  • Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
  • Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
  • A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.
  • Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..
  • A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
  • Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
  • TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
  • Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
  • James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
  • Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
  • Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California
  • Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
  • Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
  • Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic's file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.
  • Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
  • Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.
  • Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.
  • Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.
  • Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family's Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.
  • Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara's parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn't take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)
  • Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002,
  • (Gareth's father could not accept his son's death and killed himself.)
  • Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family's detached garage.
  • Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.
  • Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.
  • Woody ____, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.
  • A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.
  • Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”
  • Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.
  • Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.
  • Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.
  • Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.
  • Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

Missing from list… 3 of 4 known to have taken these same meds….

  • What drugs was Jared Lee Loughner on, age 21…… killed 6 people and injuring 14 others in Tuscon, Az
  • What drugs was James Eagan Holmes on, age 24….. killed 12 people and injuring 59 others in Aurora Colorado
  • What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts on, age 22, killed 2 injured 1, Clackamas Or
  • What drugs was Adam Peter Lanza on, age 20, Killed 26 and wounded 2 in Newtown Ct
And here's another piece worth reading with some interesting takes on the Florida school shooting and another list of previous murderers and their drug intake:  Media ignoring 1 crucial factor in Florida school shooting 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Hollywood Gets the Story Wrong - Again

You would think people who tell stories for a living would be able to tell truth from fiction.  You would be wrong. A good case in point is the Sundance Film Festival which just wrapped-up in Park City, Utah. 

As is now expected in the age of Trump, there was an anti-Trump rally down Main Street protesting against sexual abuse, Trump, fascism, fascist Trump, and Trumpist fascism.  Speakers included Jane Fonda, Lena Waithe, Tessa Thompson, & Gloria Allred, who led the crowd in a chant of "Resist, insist, persist, insist, and elect".

Hollywood, and the arts community in general, support the Democrat party with near exclusivity, and they hate Donald Trump with white hot passion and call him "fascist". Yet, it is under Democrats that the heavy hand of government interferes most with the work of people exercising their right of free speech. Richard Nixon may have contemplated using the IRS to go after his enemies, but he never did it, and could not have gotten away with it.  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama not only did it, but they got away with it. To this day no one holds them accountable - not the media, not the public, not academia, and certainly not Hollywood.   

To keep the flame of truth at least on pilot, below is a partial list of filmmakers, the very people celebrated at Sundance, who were jailed, persecuted, audited, and harassed under Barack Obama for political purposes:    

Dinesh D'Souza:  There is mounting evidence that Dinesh D'Souza was specifically targeted by Barack Obama.  He was basically imprisoned for a minor campaign finance violation, giving $20,000 to an old college friend while the legal limit was $5,400. More importantly though, he made a couple of anti-Obama films in 2012 and 2013.  As a result of the ostensible campaign finance violation, he was confined for eight months, put on five months probation, and forced to undergo psychological counseling.

Mr. D'Souza was the first person in the history of campaign finance law ever to be confined for an offense such as this.   

Here's what liberal Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz said about his conviction and sentence:  
“The idea of charging him with a felony for this doesn’t sound like a proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion.... I can’t help but think that [D'Souza's] politics have something to do with it.... It smacks of selective prosecution.” He went on to say such alleged campaign violations are common in politics.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was put in prison for a year as punishment for making the YouTube video famously blamed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.  There's only one problem: the video had nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi.

Hillary Clinton promised the grieving families of those killed that she would imprison Mr. Nakoula despite that pesky thing known as our first amendment right to free speech.  And Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both knew the video was not responsible. Secretary Clinton emailed her daughter, Chelsea, right after the attack saying that the attack was an al Qaeda-like terrorist operation.  Another email, to the Libyan President,  confirmed that this was her official understanding of the events in Benghazi.  Yet publicly, and even to the families of those who died, she and Obama blamed Nakoula. 

The sad and tragic reality is that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama jailed a filmmaker for a year to cover for their failure to provide the necessary security in Benghazi, to add legitimacy to their lie about the attack being about a video, to maintain the fiction that they had defeated terrorism, and to deceive the American people before an election.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt:  These people were behind the Planned Parenthood undercover videos made by The Center for Medical Progress.  Barack Obama himself made a point to single them out.  As part of their cover they used fake IDs that somehow became a pretense for felony charges, a raid on Daleiden's home, and seizures of his property.
“To storm into a private citizen’s home with a search warrant is outrageously out of proportion for the type of crime alleged,” said Matt Heffron a former federal prosecutor who is now Daleiden’s legal adviser. “It’s a discredit to law enforcement, an oppressive abuse of government power.”
Recently, all charges in Texas were dropped against Daleiden.  But the damage was done, his funding was depleted, and CMP was sidelined.  Ultimately, the harassment was a success from the Democrat standpoint.

Joel Gilbert:  Mr. Gilbert made an anti-Obama film called "Dreams From My Real Father".  It drew the ire of Democrats on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) who voted unanimously to punish Mr. Gilbert.  When Republicans stood firm and pointed out that liberal filmmakers such as Michael Moore were not similarly harassed, the punishment was eventually blocked.  Were it not for the split FEC, Mr. Gilbert would have been sanctioned simply for making a movie critical of Barack Obama.

James O'Keefe, Joseph Basel, Robert Flanagan, and Stan Dai: These people were part of James O'Keefe's undercover video organization, Project Veritas, the organization that single-handedly took down one of Obama's favorite community organizer activist groups, ACORN. They went on to investigate Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu and ran afoul of the FBI while trying to make a film about her. They eventually settled for misdemeanor charges and accepted probation, fines, and community service.

O'keefe has also been harassed by Obama's DHS for making films about the open Mexican border, and was just blocked by Twitter for releasing videos critical of Democrats and Hillary Clinton.

Logan Clements: Mr. Clements made a movie called "Sick and Sicker...", an unflattering portrayal of Obamacare.  For his disloyalty he was handed his first ever IRS audit.   

Breitbart News:  Breitbart News also earned their first IRS audit.   Breitbart is a multi-media internet megaphone that is foursquare opposed to Clinton and Obama's policies.  In this election cycle they are all-in with Donald Trump.  (Also, see David Bossie below who contributes occasionally to Breitbart.) 

Glenn Beck, Pat Grey, and Scott Baker:  Glenn Beck and his Blaze Network don't just make videos, they have an entire broadcast network, publish books, run a website, and do talk radio,  all of which oppose Clinton and Obama policies.  So yeah, these guys all got their first IRS audits .  But that's not all.  Glenn Beck's top sponsor, GoldLine, was targeted by Democrats, specifically congressman Anthony Weiner, husband of Hillary's right hand person Huma Abedin, and a known political hit-man for Democrats and Obama.  Weiner resigned his House seat in scandal, but his (ex?) wife will play a major role in a possible Clinton administration.

David Bossie and James Bopp:  These men were behind the Citizens United SCOTUS case. David Bossie runs CU and James Bopp was the lawyer who defended the first amendment. The case centered around CU's right to make and show a film, in this case an unflattering portrait of Hillary Clinton. They won the case at the SCUTUS, but ran afoul of Obama and the entire Left who believe the first amendment only applies to Michael Moore and The New York Times. Hence, in front of the entire world, during a state of the union address, Barack Obama publicly berated the justices who upheld the first amendment rights of filmmakers, thus sending a message to justices, filmmakers, and supporters of people who make films: oppose me and I will use the Bully Pulpit to bully you.

Fox News:  No list like this would be complete without mentioning Obama's number one target in the media and film world.  Fox has been singled-out and harassed personally by Barack Obama on numerous occasions.  These attacks send a clear and chilling message to sponsors: Advertise on Fox and you will be the target of restrictive regulations, IRS audits, and federal harassment.  Some were targeted, like Gold Line mentioned above. 

Donald Trump talks about "fake news", mentions specific outlets like CNN and the NYT, but takes no action against them.  That's how free speech is supposed to work.   

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton took concrete actions and weaponized the federal government against their critics.  That is the very essence of fascism.  Perhaps someone in Hollywood could make a movie about that, but I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Obama & Farrakhan - Perfect Together

"The job of the media when covering Democrats is to hide the truth.  The job of the media when covering Republicans is to spread lies." - 

Today's example of this is the above photo of Barack Obama grinning from ear-to-ear with anti-semite, racist, radical Muslim, Louis Farrakhan. The photo was kept secret throughout Obama's two campaigns and terms as President:  (from: TPM)     

The photographer, Askia Muhammad, told the Trice Edney News Wire that he “gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy.” 
“But after the nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration; then for eight years after he was President, it was kept under cover,” Muhammad said. 
Asked whether he thought the photo’s release would have affected Obama’s presidential campaign, Muhammad said, “I insist. It absolutely would have made a difference.”

This allows me to repost this thought from the time President Barack Obama came out in favor of building a mega-Mosque at the site of the 9/11 Islamic terror attack in NY:

Now that President Obama has come out in favor of the mega-mosque at ground zero , it opens up an opportunity to combine some of the Prez's most important priorities into one neat solution! 
Recall that the head of NASA, Charles Bolden,  revealed to Al Jazeera that Prez Obama has directed NASA to make it's "Primary Mission"... outreach to Muslims!  Not exploring space, not doing science, not helping our military.  No, the primary mission of NASA is helping Muslims!  
Recall also that Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam (Obama is a supporter and ally) believe that there is a spaceship called the  "Mother Wheel" which orbits the planet and...well, nevermind.  
So let's see, we need a giant place for Muslims to worship, check, we have the full resources of NASA, check, and there is already a Mother Wheel circling the planet, check mate.  Hmmm, I love it when a plan comes together!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Of Tax Cuts and Swimming Pools

Wow, Democrats really don't like the tax cuts! They've referred to them as apocalyptic, tragic, deadly, and the end of the world. Only the rich will benefit, they say.  The poor and middle class will get "crumbs", opined Nancy Pelosi. A "deception", wined Chuck Schumer.  Of particular concern to Democrats is the drop in business income taxes which they say will only help "corporations".  Not a single Democrat voted for the bill.

And yet since the bill passed, 81 prominent corporations have already announced significant wage increases and bonuses for their employees, the latest being the nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart.  Add to that  all the small and medium sized employers who are doing the same, and this looks like a windfall for the American worker.   Moreover, overseas profits are flooding back, companies are abandoning "inversions" opting to remain here, foreign companies are planning to increase their U.S. footprints, capital expenditures are predicted to skyrocket, and the stock market is soaring.   

So why are Democrats still criticizing something that has been so effective in such a short time?  Aside from the usual political posturing, Democrats, along with a few Republicans,  have a fundamental misunderstanding of basic economics.  Contrary to popular belief, BUSINESSES DON'T PAY TAXES.  Period.  

I know it's confusing because businesses do COLLECT taxes, and REMIT taxes, but the business is only a pass-through entity in this transaction.  The money comes from the PEOPLE.  In fact, all taxes are paid by people.  In the case of business taxes, those people are the employees, customers, owners, and vendors of the business. 

Here's a helpful analogy:  Picture the economy as a giant swimming pool filled with people trying to escape the oppressive heat of a hot summer's day. 

Feeding cool water into the pool are businesses, and draining water out of the pool are taxes.  New water does not pile up  - it flows throughout the pool and always helps those at the shallow end most profoundly.  Conversely, the opposite occurs when the level drops.     

This is a precise, though simplified, version of an actual economy, and it illuminates a few important concepts and misunderstandings: 

A tax on business is a direct drain on the flow of water into the pool.  That water never enters the pool.  Some tax money is recirculated back to the pool, but due to inefficiencies it is always a net drain. When a tax is reduced, there is an immediate increase in the level of water in the pool which is, again, felt most profoundly at the shallow end.

If you haven't figured it out yet, water = VALUE.  The shallow end is where the economically vulnerable are and the deep end is where the economically secure are.  Most people are somewhere in the middle.

Democrats always scream, "tax cuts for the rich!", but the swimming pool analogy disproves that assertion - you cannot add or remove water from only one end of a pool.  Everyone is swimming around in the same vat of value and the only thing that distinguishes one person from another is the amount of value they are floating in, or in some cases wading in.

In the real world when a business pays taxes they take a number of offsetting actions - prices go up for their customers, wages go down for their employees, and vendors are squeezed.  Globally, their competition gets an advantage.  All this does is lower the level in the pool.

When a rich person has their taxes increased they take similar actions.  They spend less, they invest less, they work less, and they produce less.  All this does is lower the level in the pool.

Tax cuts do the opposite.  And tax cuts on business are the most direct because it is essentially new value flowing into the pool.

Democrats weren't always clueless about this.  JFK understood this and spoke of a rising tide lifting all boats.  He cut taxes.  Some Democrats voted for both Reagan's tax cuts and George W Bush's.  But today's Democrats are completely oblivious.  Sad!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

What Exactly Is a "Shithole Country"?

Today's episode of exploding heads has to do with Donald Trump labeling certain countries, "shithole countries".   So, what does that mean?

Donald Trump is a famously guileless person - he speaks his mind.  And the mind he speaks relies on the colorful patois of the common man.  Don Jr. accurately calls his dad a "blue collar billionaire".   

With that background, we can safely assume that the President was referring to countries where people routinely defecate in holes.  The only question remaining is, does that apply to Haiti and some African Countries?  

According to the World Bank, under 30% of Haitians have improved sanitation facilities.  It's worse in many African countries with some around 10% and only the highest hitting 30%.  Over 70% of these people actually shit in a hole!  

Meanwhile, 100% of the population in the U.S. has access to improved sanitation according to the same study.  Donald Trump's own sanitation is so improved it's apocryphally gold plated.  Is anyone surprised that a man imagined to sit on a golden toilet is concerned about an invasion of folks who poop in pits?  

So, what Donald Trump said is factually accurate.  It's provable.  It may be blunt, crude, and offensive to those who want to see racism everywhere, but it's undeniable.  It's science.   

If your head is still exploding, then you, my friend, are a science denier.    

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Why Trump is, like, Really Smart...and You're Not.

Donald Trump did it once again - he made heads explode yesterday with an amazing trio of tweets wherein he defended his own mental stability and intelligence.  It was vintage Trump, right up there with his "big nuclear button" tweet about North Korea.

Since so many of you seem to be outraged by these tweets and Trump's other habits, I'd like to walk you through yesterday's outburst and explain the underlying strategy using Trump's own words.  You see, there is a method to his madness, and the longer you remain clueless about it, the higher your blood pressure is likely to get.  I'm just here to do a public service and save lives.  You're welcome. 

Here are the tweets in question:   

This tweetstorm raises several questions:

Why does he constantly attack the "fake news mainstream media" and the Russia investigation?
Why even dignify the Michael Wolff charges of mental instability and low intelligence?
Why does he constantly brag about his brilliance and achievements?
Why did he put the word "like" in there?
Why does he continue calling Hillary "Crooked Hillary"?
Why does he brag that he's "a very stable genius"?
And...Why does he not seem to care how being so boorish makes him look?

The thing is, Donald Trump explained all this in a series of books and interviews beginning about 30 years ago.  His tactics are far from secret.  Now, I'll grant that you are probably too busy or uninterested to be bothered reading stuff by someone you consider to be mentally inferior and crazy. That's why I'm here to help.  Here are the specific quotes relating to each of the tweets:

Tweet #1 is all about Trump fighting back:

"In most cases I'm very easy to get along with. I'm very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my lifehas been to fight back very hard."  (Trump, “Art of the Deal”, 1987)
“When someone crosses you, my advice is ‘Get even!’ That is not typical advice, but it is real-life advice. If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck! When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even. I get screwed all the time. I go after people, and you know what? People do not play around with me as much as they do with others. They know that if they do, they are in for a big fight. Always get even. Go after people that go after you. Don’t let people push you around. Always fight back and always get even. It’s a jungle out there, filled with bullies of all kinds who will try to push you around. If you’re afraid to fight back people will think of you as a loser, a ‘schmuck!’ They will know they can get away with insulting you, disrespecting you, and taking advantage of you. Don’t let it happen! Always fight back and get even.(Trump: Think Big, 2007)
“If someone attacks you, do not hesitate. Go for the jugular.” (Trump: Think Big, 2007)
It makes me feel so good to hit 'sleazebags' back — much better than seeing a psychiatrist (which I never have!)" (Twitter, November 19, 2012)
This “attitude” of his to “fight back very hard”  and "get even" is why he has been so aggressive against the book by Michael Wolff that triggered the above tweets.  It's also why he continues pounding away at the "fake news media", Democrats, and the Russia investigation.  Attack his intelligence and mental stability and he will fight back.  He's been doing this his whole life and it has made him a billionaire, a TV star, and now the President of the United States.  You can criticize him all you want, but he has an undeniable record of success not allowing himself to be made a schmuck.  

Tweet #2 is just Trump playing y'all, and having fun doing it:  
"One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better...The point is that if you are a little different, a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you." - Donald Trump, “The Art of the Deal”, 1987
And if it can’t be fun, what’s the point? - Donald Trump, "The Art of the Deal", 1987
The big tell in this tweet is the addition of the word, "like", thrown right smack in the middle of a tweet attesting to his brilliance:
" two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart."  
Nothing screams brilliance like using the word "like" like a valley girl!

The  above tweet is a vintage example of Trump playing the media.  He knows he's going to get coverage when he throws that word in that tweet.  He knows his haters are going to go ape-shit, and he knows those in on the joke are going to laugh and enjoy their popcorn while the clueless heads explode.

Donald Trump is a veteran media maestro. His very business model – branding his name – was achieved in large measure by being controversial and getting free media. For years, his tabloid antics kept his name in the spotlight, and the Trump name was emblazoned on every one of his projects.

His presidential bid used the same game plan. By being “sensational”, “different”, “outrageous”, “bold”, and “controversial” he managed to run a successful presidential race on a shoestring budget with almost no staff or ground-game. He played the media like a Stradivarius to get his name, face, and candidacy in the conversation every day. That’s why he started his bid with the ridiculous Obama birth certificate quest. It made news. Trump was being sensational and outrageous by design. Does he really think Mexico will pay for the wall? Does he really think we should have seized Iraq’s oil? All we know for sure is what he reveals in his own words, and that tells us he's playing the media for all it's worth.

By trolling the media in such a way, Trump has been able to provoke them into gross over-reactions that almost always backfire to his benefit.  Meanwhile he marches on with his agenda, leaving everyone else mired in a thick fog of #covfefe.  Granted, Trump has tweaked the media so often that nearly 100% of his coverage is negative at this point.  But that doesn’t seem to concern him (see below).  Remember, he won the election under the exact same circumstances.  His voters are in on the joke and don't care that he plays the media, as long as the results continue to roll in.  

Tweet #3 is Trump doing what he does best: promote, promote, promote, shamelessly and constantly.  That, and espouse his own positive self-image:   

My father taught me everything I know. And he would understand what I’m about to say,” Mr. Trump announced to the room. “I’m developing a great building on Riverside Boulevard called Trump Place. It’s a wonderful project.” - Donald Trump at his father's wake
 "You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on."Donald Trump, “Art of the Deal”, 1987
Donald Trump is constantly promoting, and likes to "throw in a little hyperbole”. We are not used to politicians doing this in such a brazen way. Our parents raised us to be humble and discreet. Not Donald Trump. He is shameless and deliberate. He knows what he's doing. Why else would he tout his own genius and mental stability? Can he really singlehandedly Make America Great Again? Will he really be the best jobs President "God ever created"? Does he really think America’s going to win so much we are going to be "tired of winning"? All we know is that he knows he has to eventually “deliver the goods”.

And he has. He won the nomination, the Presidency, and just broke all kinds of records for a President's first year.  And he did that in the face of overwhelming opposition from the political establishment, the deep state, the media, academia, and the entertainment world.  He has over-achieved by every single measure of a rank amateur in presidential politics. 

“You always, when the service was over, you said, ‘I’d have sat there for another hour,’” Mr. Trump recalled. “There aren’t too many people like that. It wasn’t the speaking ability, it was the thought process.”- Donald Trump on Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Minister at Marble Collegiate Church
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale is an often overlooked piece of the Donald Trump puzzle. Beginning as a teenager, and continuing for decades, the Trumps attended The Marble Collegiate Church, which was led by Dr. Peale, author of the bestselling book, "The Power of Positive Thinking".

The power of positive thinking, according to Peale, was that if you you could train your thought process to focus on positive visions of yourself, your abilities, your prospects, your achievements, etc., you could go as far as you wanted to go in life. Nothing could stop you as long as you held firm to this positive picture.

Typical Peale quotes are: "Change your thoughts and you change your world." "There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment." "If you have zest and enthusiasm you attract zest and enthusiasm. Life does give back in kind."

You can hear echoes of Peale in every aspect of Trump's oversized positive image of himself, his abilities, and his accomplishments. It's hard to deny Peale's power, though, when so many of those accomplishments are real.

Tweets 1, 2, and 3 together are explained by Trumps belief that any publicity is good publicity:  
“Good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.” - Donald Trump, "The Art of the Deal", 1987
How many times have you heard critics get exasperated by Trump's ability to step on his own good headlines?  Finally he'll have some positive news about the economy, or ISIS, or some such thing, and what does he do?  He tweets something petty and obnoxious about some celebrity like Rosie O'Donnell.  Bam!  Gone are the positive reports about job growth, and instead there's a story about his stupid tweet about something meaningless.  Why does he always do that?

He knows he's never going to be covered fairly by the media - no Republican ever has.  So instead, he's decided to take control of the narrative, and the only thing he knows for sure is that "controversy sells".


So you see, Donald Trump is not an idiot, and he's not crazy.  He's following a strategy he developed over a lifetime of living and winning in a high stakes world. The fact that you don't understand what he's up to is more a reflection of your ignorance than of his.