The Retrospectoscope and Black History Month

The short range scope shudders as it views the MLK assassination,the RFK assassination,the JFK assassination,the Watergate scandal,the folly of regime change assuring the importance of nuclear club membership as the only protection against it.We now face the Trumpian,repug( thanks Herb)attempt to halt the demographically decreed BROWNING of America.
In light of the current worsening crisis,I am sickened by the reports of Sex Workers like Stormy Daniels of adequate missionary position age appropriate unprotected sex by the Merchant of Malice while his wife was nursing his last child.I am sickened by documentation of accounts opened within seconds of closing of another account,the purpose of both being the reimbursement of sex workers.I am sickened by the assaults on DACA,FISA,the Press and the loss of standing of the U.S in the thermos of world respect and standing.

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12 Comments

  1. Regarding Katherine G’s comments dated 19 Feb 6:47PM

    Lacking complete information there is no option but to make assumptions. If seeking the truth of matters it is understood that our attempts to know truth are guesses not written in stone and thus are open for revision. That is why we engage in dialogue. When math and logic can apply we have a common means by which reasoned correction toward understanding objective truths is possible. You are correct in discerning that I have a fair degree of contempt for the idea that emotional guides are a reliable means for navigating among objective truths. I have seen too many examples of subjective forces leading humanity over cliffs – cliffs that an objective eye would have quickly seen. The political divide that has been exacerbated by the Trump victory demonstrates this dynamic in real time. The emotional hatred directed at Trump and his supporters hides the rational basis supporting his policies and has tragic implications. Perhaps I have a thicker skin than is reasonable to expect of others. My probes directed to evoke an interesting and productive dialogue can sometimes be viewed as a personal attack. To the degree that WE hold views that should be attacked I think that the printed challenge and the attempt to defend such views benefits all involved. From my point of view the greatest benefit occurs when I have been corrected with good rational argument. I am responsible for navigating my ship of life and I want to guide my life using the most accurate charts possible.

    I applaud Katherine’s willingness to engage in the effort.

    1. Katherine G asked some good questions that should be addressed:
      Katherine tells us that Trump was elected by an angry electorate that did not “represent a true majority of the people in the country. Trump’s victory was, instead, due to an allocation of Electors based on geographic distribution of the voting population.” I agree that many were (justifiably) angry at the directions that eight years of leftist bent had taken us. By the laws of the election process Trump won honestly with a strong majority. Being a federation of states, the objective is that of attracting voters who are also interested in their state’s interests. If the interests of specific states are to be ignored and we go instead to a simple popular vote the game would be played differently (and no longer would we be the Country intended by our founders).

      Katherine: “Among the world’s educated and sophisticated leaders, he (Trump) has been rude and aggressive … He is a racist who has encouraged violence toward those with whom he disagrees or dislikes. These observations are not hateful: They are facts.” I agree that Trump can be “rude and aggressive”. IN my 81 years I have known a few excellent minds (and some not so excellent) who possessed this in-your-face abruptness (some call it a form of honesty). New York seems to have produced more than its share. Finally someone is providing clarity to Kim Jong-un. If this clarity is too late, the fact of its having been delayed will translate to massive death and pain (either by our forcefully removing him from power or his multifaceted future abuse of his power). You claim it to be a fact that Trump is a racist. I claim it to be a fact that there is no good evidence that Trump is a racist. I know for a fact that many are falsifying evidence in order to encourage that belief (lie?). For instance, read the transcript – Trump did not say there were good people marching for the Nazi cause.

      Katherine accuses me of “broadly suggesting that opposite ideologies are more productive and fair without actually stating what these are.” For over two years (including this recent line of discussion) I have written about the differences between leftism and conservativism, socialism and individual responsibility, individual justice and social justice, discipline and freedom, totalitarianism and anarchy, and examining their impact as we try to make balanced choices – hopefully balanced such that humanity gains more than it loses. For most of U.S. history our Country has been the best example as regards the success of the original-intent Constitution which is the essence of conservatism. Gaining momentum is an effort to “transform” (as stated by Obama) the U.S. to a less individual-liberty form of government to one that has sufficient central power to forcefully shape its citizens to fit the believed-to-be “fairer”, more “just”, and more “caring” “standards” of the leftist mindset.

      I ’throw around” words like “allocation of scarce resources” and “efficiency” because understanding the logic of their meanings is central to any wisdom about economics. Know economics and you are more likely to understand the correlations between incentives, productivity, and efficiencies. One can understand better the tradeoffs likely to occur when a government values more an equality of distribution than it does quality and quantity of product.

      Katherine raises legitimate questions when she presents evidence that people with other systems of government are “happier” than those in our Country. The first thoughts that come to mind are – How was this determined? How do the researchers define “happiness”? What questions were asked by the research group? What is meant by “well-being”? Are we comparing apples to apples? If the first 10 of the countries listed as “happier” than the United States were combined it would create a single country of only 117.2 million. The population of the present day United States is about 326 million. We have cities with bigger populations than some of these countries. Could having much smaller and thus presumably more homogenous populations, more responsive governments, be a factor? I wonder how our individual states would compare if the same researchers were to do a state by state study?

      World’s Happiest People (by Country)
      2016
      01 Norway 5.2 mil
      02 Denmark 5.7 mil
      03 Iceland .3 mil (331,000)
      04 Switzerland 8.4 mil
      05 Finland 5.5 mil
      06 Netherlands 17.2 mil
      07 Canada 36.6 mil
      08 New Zealand 4.6 mil
      09 Australia 23.8 mil
      10 Sweden … 9.9 mil
      19 U.S.A. -vs- 18

  2. Indeed, we shudder.

    Dr. Thomas is the only one whom I have found publishing any comments or information on the impact of politics on personal well-being and health. See, also, https://www.findatopdoc.com/Expert/8138694-Claudewell-S-Thomas/prodrome-or-concomitant.

    I am not talking about demographic, statistical information, rather, the personal experience that arises from the social/political milieu and dominant collective consciousness that can be categorized generally as a spirit of hope, a spirit of love, a spirit of hatred or despair.

    This is not simply an emotional reaction, as suggested by Don Spencer. Rather, in a sick environment, the body physically becomes ill.

    In a sick collective consciousness, the mind becomes ill. Fear, hatred, despair: these are symptoms and outgrowths of people who are not thriving, who are suffering loss, who are experienced as “less than” or outcasts.

    True leadership creates a vision and an actionable plan to include and improve the experience of all toward a dream, if that dream has not already been realized.

    The language of hope is inclusive. The Spirit of hope breeds physical health and mental well-being. The actions of hope provide relief and an immediate path toward social, global, legal, and personal homeostasis.

    1. Glad to have Katherine’s input. Clarity about complex matters requires this kind of refinement. What may be of interest to those who follow theoctogenarians.com is the fact that in important ways I agree with (almost) every point listed by Katherine, yet to achieve fulfillment for the greatest number I would recommend a political path different from that advocated by Daedal2207 (and possibly by Katherine?).
      I will try to explain:
      A “spirit of hope, a spirit of love, a spirit of hatred or despair” is contingent on cultivated values. A link between emotional despair and physical health is empirically provable. But that which evokes these life-enhancing or life-threatening “spirits” is a variable. We are raised in different cultures. This means that what we evolve to like, hate, and hope for, is linked to what our culture “teaches” us to feel is “appropriate”. From this cultural soil we then enhance or correct, thereby “teaching” ourselves. History repeatedly demonstrates that each of two sides engaged in mortal conflict can produce souls capable of experiencing deep sentiments accurately described as “love”, “hatred” and “despair”. The emotions are the same. It is the object(s) evoking these emotions that vary. For the independent thinker it is emotions that are appropriate relative to that which ACTUALLY “works” that are most important. Fundamental is our challenge to acquire truthful understandings about the nature of human nature and the natural laws in which all must navigate. Out of truthful beliefs grow the emotions that can be appropriate to what ACTUALLY causes the greatest degree of homeostasis.
      For example, some citizens may feel “despair” and could become emotionally and physically ill because hopes for a socialized, redistributionist government are being dashed. Other citizens fearfully despaired for many years, yet hoped that we might regain the original idea of a less intrusive government designed to expand liberty (and individual responsibilities that ACTUALLY justify self-worth). Those citizens are now rejoicing. Invention and increased resources are finally on a track that can best meet the myriad needs of a loved humanity.
      If tribally measured forms of “fairness” and “equality” are the endgame, hatred towards and despair at losing to the goals of Trump and the Republicans is warranted. For those who valued more highly a greater range of life-enhancing options and resources – as stated by Katherine -“The Spirit of hope breeds physical health and mental well-being. The actions of hope provide relief and an immediate path toward social, global, legal, and personal homeostasis”.
      In summary: “Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.” Everybody wishes. In spite of psychosomatic consequences, wishing is easy and insignificant compared to the importance of WHAT it is that you are hoping to achieve.

      1. I have been thinking about how to respond to your response, for days.

        It is true that we are each born into cultures that teache us to prize and value different persons, objects, goals, and experiences, toward which we direct our sentiments and feelings.

        The Spirits of hope, love, hatred, despair are not the same as the sentiments thereof.

        I kept falling back on academic or statistical rebuttals, but these seemed glib when considering the overwhelming issues that we face as a Nation and as a World.

        The 46% of Americans who might now be rejoicing because this Administration is pushing for a “less intrusive” government might be surprised to learn and understand that this means the government is dismantling measures put into place to protect their (and the country’s) best interests, such as the Frank-Dodd Act, enacted after the hedge fund banking crisis, which put the global banking system and world economies at risk and forced this government to bail out the banks, at $23 trillion with taxpayer money, or risk global financial collapse. The Treasury Department assessed the total lost household wealth, alone, due to conscious negligence-for-profit by the banks, to be $19.2 TRILLION. The banks, such as Wells Fargo – forced to pay back $25 bn to the Treasury for its bailout – still did not learn. It recently was found guilty of opening 3.5 million fake bank and credit card accounts and was forced to agree to refund customers more than $6.1 million in fees and false costs.

        I am reminded of the Seattle company – Gravity Payments – which raised its minimum annual salary to $70,000 for all employees, regardless of education, performance, title or position. At that time (2012), $70,000 was considered the minimum income required to live a basic, decent life. (Today, the median U.S. household income is $59,000; in Ohio, where I live, it is $53,979.)

        Recently, my Republican Senator stated that he thought $150,000 is a “middle class” income. There was a huge public outcry. I calculated the cost of doing all the things we expect and are told to do, as citizens, assuming 2 adults and 2 teenage children. This included one new car payment, car insurance for 3 people, saving for college for two, saving for retirement, paying a mortgage… The total tallied $149+ K.

        Back to Gravity. Interestingly, and rather appallingly, two of Gravity’s employees quit after Gravity began paying all of its employees more. Their grounds: It wasn’t fair. Mind you, their higher salaries and their future bonuses or pay increases were unaffected by Gravity’s new payment scheme, which benefited all. The point was – given the mindsets of the two – the lower paid people were not “worth” being allowed to live a decent life. Somehow, giving the others a basic, decent life for their contribution to the company trampled the sense of justice and personal self-worth these two held, even though the benefit to the other employees did not impinge upon the financial realities of the two who quit.

        The idea is: This country is always in transition. Are we transitioning forward, or back? The wealth (GDP) of this nation depends on fewer and fewer people. Hawaii has acknowledged this by being the first to introduce a Bill enacting a Universal Basic Income.

        Most humans are not rational. Imagine if the Rust-Belt and rural populations of this country had not faced financial catastrophe for the past 10 years? Suppose the government, foreseeing the change in production and market forces, provided $1,200 to each adult and $300-$500 to each child, in addition to comprehensive Universal healthcare, for monthly basic living expenses. Suppose the government, looking into its own predictions for job growth and workplace expertise, paid college, vocational schools and universities a stipend to train and educate adults who are now facing destitution because their jobs no longer exist or require fewer humans to produce the same or more.

        The sentiments of anger and hatred were expressed by the actions of the two employees, who quit. The spirits of hope, love, and inclusiveness are expressed by Hawaii, in very practical, pragmatic ways.

        Who our people are, how they think and how they feel are intimately dependent on the leadership of the country and the world.

        It is true that when looking for a brain surgeon, a rational choice is contingent only on expertise, experience, and skill.

        Donald Trump was not elected by a rational choice. He spoke to the fears, pain, experience, of people who had been disenfranchised and who had lost everything or were scraping by, barely surviving. Like the two quitters, these people emotionally felt brutalized by others who, in this country, were living well. The majority of Trump’s supporters did not see themselves as prospective recipients of future wealth. Instead, the distribution was going to “others”. The “other” is never one of us. Trump spoke to the issues of the anger of the “we” versus “other”.

        Responding in anger is usually not the best choice. Resultantly, the chosen Administration lacks vision; has introduced financial gains almost entirely for those who are the wealthiest; without accountability, is hate-mongering, hateful of other cultures and religions despite a preponderance of the facts, sexual assaulting, disloyal, belligerent, bellicose, self-aggrandizing, not too smart, and, certainly, not wise.

        At a time when we should be unifying and leading in the efforts to unify, we are isolating ourselves and moving backward, away from knowledge and enlightenment.

        Humans are very slow to adapt and change, particularly, their minds. The reason that the Russian attempt to convert to free-market democracy failed is because the expanse and depth of the most deeply held understandings and truths, paramount to existing on a genetic level, were too immense and vast to navigate without social, psychological, and economic systems leadership, defining, explaining, and creating expectations and pictures of what to expect at each point of leaping or wading through, in addition to the infrastructure leadership to channel the day-to-day operations and change.

        The U.S. is in that place, now. In our politics, we need to be creating a future, which will be different from our past. It will include information on production and distribution of wealth that is created differently, of which there is more of, and which is distributed differently in a Spirit that all humans are valuable – indeed, that all life has value. This means that we see ourselves – all of our selves – as biological specks in a huge biological entity, but specks who matter, who have an impact on our environment, on other humans, lifeforms, and on earth.

        Not taking care of ALL of our people causes sickness. The sickness is real, calculable in terms of depression, lost days at work, addictions, child abuse, sexual assault, suicide, murder rates, isolation, and lost connections.

        Not instilling hope, not implementing REAL solutions also makes us sick. We have the knowledge. By not utilizing all of our knowledge, we are killing the environment and poisoning ourselves with isolation, violation, and ignorance. The result is mass shootings, multiple diasporas, suicide, hunger, poverty, mass disease and starvation. We are living in an era when Monsanto wants to be the God of Seed, progeneration.

        Jack Ma put it succinctly:

        . . . . . . . . . . But, something that we did not discuss about, the, you know, the American did the job losing to China, Mexico and this, I think, thirty years ago, when I just graduate from universities, I heard America had a wonderful strategy: They outsource manufacture job, service jobs. They outsource the manufacturer to Mexico and China, outsource the service job to India.

        . . . . . . . . . . There’s a book called “The World is Flat” – Tom Friedman, the New York Times, and I think it’s a perfect strategy.

        . . . . . . . . . . You know, the American said, we just want to control the IP, we just want to technology. We just want a brand to leave the lower ended jobs for the world…Great strategy!

        . . . . . . . . . . Past 30 years, America had 13 wars, spending 14.2 trillion dollars, the money going there.

        . . . . . . . . . . What if they spend a part of that money on building up the infrastructure, helping the white collars and blue collars?

        . . . . . . . . . . No matter how strategy good it is, you’re supposed to spend money on your own people.

        . . . . . . . . . . Not everybody can pass Harvard. Like me, we may not be good at education, right? We should spend money on those people who are not good at schooling.

        . . . . . . . . . . And, the other money that I am curious about is that when I was young, I heard, “America’s got Ford and Boeing”, those big manufacture companies.

        . . . . . . . . . . The last 10 to 20 years, I heard about is Silicon Valley and Wall Street. The money go to the Wall Street.

        . . . . . . . . . . And, what happened? The year 2008, the financial crisis wipe it out. 19.2 trillion dollars U.S.A., alone. They wipe it to all the white collars and they destroyed 34 million jobs, globally.

        . . . . . . . . . . So, what if the money is not at Wall Street? What if the money spent on a Middle West of the United States, developing the industry, there? That could be changed a lot.

        . . . . . . . . . . So, it’s not the other countries steal jobs from you guys, it is your strategy. Okay?

        . . . . . . . . . . But, you do not distribute the money and things in a proper way.

        Our current Administration breeds the Spirits of Hate and Derision.

        Financial health and stability are central to our health and well-being as individuals and a Nation. Financial health may be defined as resource-adequate or abundant, if you are in the best frame of mind.

        We need leaders with foresight, operating out of ethics, with wisdom and experience. When we change our priorities, the health of individuals and the Nation will improve. Shifting 180 degrees from today’s experience, if we make the right changes, we can join the United Nations and again lead in improving the health of Earth, all who reside on earth, as well as our own.

        This change depends on respecting others and allowing their prosperity and health. The fight for survival impedes higher consciousness. We already have the resources needed to mitigate the struggle and change our course.

        1. Katherine has provided a thoughtful and extensive set of ideas to be examined. With inspection perhaps we can discover some of the reasons that segments of our society are conflicted, divided, and no matter our sharing the English dictionary, “speaking different languages”.

          Regardless human differences, we all share the fact that we exist within an objective “reality”. Although equally shared, subjective variables cause extensive disagreement as to how we understand its nature. Much of my effort is directed toward distinguishing between what is most probably true (objective) and distortions caused by subjective inclinations. Example: To the degree empirical evidence and logic can be ignored, human frailties such as wishful beliefs become limited only by the boundaries of the human imagination.

          Katherine G begins with a statement focused on feelings. She tells us that “The Spirits of hope, love, hatred, despair” are not the “same” as those (I think identical) sentiments that I had earlier suggested were inculcated by cultural influence and adjusted by “self-teaching”. Why use the word “spirits” except to isolate those emotions from objective implications? (Is it to imagine them independently noble?) I think most important is a realization that if they have no impact on that which is measurable these emotions have no meaning whatsoever. Understood in this fashion our emphasis becomes that of striving to cultivate sentiments that are “appropriate”. That is, create emotional attitudes that are ACTUALLY linked to healthy interactions with the “real” (objective) world.

          That understood, we can see that our, and others’ feelings, of “hope, love, hatred, and despair” need to be questioned. Understanding their context is essential if we are to know their appropriateness to anything that is real.

          As we progress through Katherine’s comments it becomes clear that there is a pattern. Her examples demonstrate that she “feels” that a loving Government (and companies too) can and should provide income and/or salaries that allow its people a “decent” living. Gravity Payments introduced for its employees a basic salary of $70,000. We are told that in (2012), $70,000 was considered the minimum income required to live a basic, decent life. Now who among us would deny fellow humans a “decent” living? According to this mindset, those who would balk at this obviously loving act could be judged as heartless, hateful, and likely deficient in empathy. Those who are not by government given resources in support of this basic need are felt to be justified if experiencing the agonies of desperation – tempered only by hope.

          Time to question: What if governments and companies who ACT on these good and loving feelings ultimately cause effects that instead of improving humanity actually cost lives and add to human misery? For instance, generally, there is a point of taxation beyond which a person will reduce productivity. For a government to distribute resources it first needs to collect them from those who have them and are producing them. This requires taxation, and at what levels does taxation impose on the producer something similar to slavery – with the moral implications most of us rightly abhor? If the proven producers cease to produce, how can a growing population thrive in an environment being deprived of nutrients?

          If it is true that free markets and merit-focused competition enrichen the “soil” from which humanity gains access to the greatest variety and volume of life-enhancing, life-saving resources, we should all feel “hope” for an expanded free market and feel “love” for the honestly successful capitalist. When faced by that which would actually work best to better the human condition, experiencing feelings of hatred and despair cannot reasonably be described as appropriate or healthy. To the degree that socialist, wishful sentiments dominate, despair felt by those who truly want to achieve the best for humanity would be justified – as experienced by conservatives during the eight years of Obama.

          So we see that the sentiments of hope, love, hatred, and despair are appropriate or inappropriate depending on context. We use the same dictionary. We all feel hope, love, hatred and despair, but enter the contexts of socialism’s wishful policies and conservative objectivity and the meanings of these sentiments are by each turned upside down. Of course we have a divided country. The important issue is not who is a divider; it is which side of the divide will best serve humanity.

          Katherine tells us that “all humans are valuable”. Well, yes and no. What kind of mindset would argue that the killer of school children is as “valuable” as the children who were killed? Even the word “valuable” needs to be questioned, and acquires definition only in the light of context if we are to “know” in a fashion that objectively improves judgment (as opposed to subjective, good-feeling, wishful canards). The fact is, we do not “matter” equally. Some behave in fashions that actually improve life and others do not. In general, relative to the healthier human future, those who produce more than they consume are “better” than those who consume more than they produce.

          Katherine tells us that “not taking care of ALL of our people causes sickness”. Yes, but it is only wishful thinking that would allow a mind to believe that ALL can be “cared” for equally. And think about the variable meanings of “care”. The leftist mindset tends to think of “care” as providing things, such as a basic income. Other minds would consider the gift of responsibility (original intent) to be an important form of “caring”. After all, owning responsibility means that judgments of personal behavior would then have an objective source of measurement that is yours alone. The magnificent sentiments of JUSTIFIABLE pride and self-worth become possible.

          Expectations unmet can cause sickness. Unhealthy expectations when met, by definition cause sickness. To the degree Katherine’s observation about prevailing “sickness” is true, it is not clear that the virus was not inflicted on US before the election of Trump. I would argue that policies enacted by our new administration are mostly cures. No longer are we likely to suffer anemic GDPs of less than 3%. More of our citizens are likely to find employment niches where they will be (and can feel) valuable. Government is more likely to think in terms of individual citizens and not as divided and divisive “tribes” to be punished or rewarded. Aggressions from other parts of the world are more likely to be deterred by their having to face a stronger, more determined resistance. There are “objective” reasons to embrace the marvelous “feelings” of gratitude. How appropriate!

  3. Real events and make-believe events – so different, yet in important ways they can have the same consequence. How interesting that emotional “sickness” can be evoked by each! All that is needed is to ascribe to both the powers of certitude. But, what if the feelings evoked by leaps of faith (more certitude than all the evidence would justify) enable one to feel not sick, but euphoric? I suppose, to the degree it separates one’s mind from awareness of important realities, even euphoria could be considered a sickness. If a danger is objectively real we had better be able to deal with it. If what is perceived to be a danger (or reward) is not objectively real, we had better correct our vision. Charles Murray, in his book “Coming Apart” provides strong statistical evidence that the class ills impacting society are not those of “color” differences, but are those of education (aptitude) and values. Donald Trump is accused of having engaged in many forms of sexual immorality. The nature of our political battle is such that we can expect slander and libel to come from his enemies. Skepticism is justified. But even if the accusations are true, are these forms of “bad” behavior correlated with poor leadership at the Presidential level? Given the sexual behavior of notable past presidents, poor sexual morality does not link with poor-quality leadership. As much as we would like to have our cancer surgery performed by the most sexually decent and moral of persons, I think that the minds most likely to survive would prioritize concern about the doctor’s skill as a surgeon.
    As for “assaults” on DACA, FISA, and the Press, the most important issue is that of their appropriateness. When each with needed attention and criticism is impacted to better serve US we have legitimate cause for jubilance, not depression.

    1. First, I think that Don and I shall not, very quickly, agree. We operate out of different mindsets, expectations, visions, definitions, and hopes for the future.

      This is not to say anything bad about Don or me, but, therein lies the difficulty for the world.

      Whether our positions are formed by statistics or passion, a basic question we must ask is, “What are our values?” The second question is, “How do we get our values to evolve with reality?”

      There are many ways of thinking about the wealth of the world and how it “should” be distributed.

      The earlier argument was based on the idea that, suppose, at the turn of the 19th century it took 100 people to produce the world’s aggregate GDP. Today, a much greater GDP is produced by only 10 people. Does this mean that the other 90 people in the world should not receive and benefit from the wealth?

      Although it seems trite to say this: The feelings and beliefs surrounding “deserving” versus “undeserving” are rooted in our Judeo-Christian civil ethic, our value for:

      The Dignity of Human Life
      The Traditional Family
      A National Work Ethic
      Common Decency
      Personal Accountability

      Many times, these values are at odds, dignity/common decency -vs- work ethic/personal accountability.

      In terms of the U.S. and our GDP, we are hung up on how we define the issues of individual value, work ethic, and personal accountability. How we perceive and feel about these issues are inculcated from birth.

      Our feelings, our “generosity” flows from whether someone is “deserving” because they “contribute” and work. By this model, the 90 people are not deserving because no wealth is attributable to their efforts, therefore, no wealth “should” be distributed to them.

      This same mindset has motivated the Republican Trump Administration to apportion 21.6 percent of the total $192 billion tax break to the richest 0.3 percent of tax filers, those making over $1 million or more per year (Joint Committee on Taxation).

      Although Trump ranks only 544th on the Forbes Wealthiest-People-in-the-World list, he is still a very rich man, but he is hardly the most ethical, intelligent, or “deserving” by any standard or cultural measure unless you are a Ferengi.

      He has benefited from government relief/financial welfare programs, targeted for the rich, such as corporate Chapter 11 bankruptcy six times and real estate write-offs.

      In every way that he canNOT contribute, he does not, even when it comes, personally, to supporting humanitarian causes and non-profits, as was widely reported during 2016.

      In the pursuit of wealth, he destroyed a 4,000-year-old sand dune system (a site of Special Scientific Interest by Scottish Natural Heritage), to build his Aberdeen golf course, which has been losing money ever since. In fact, he has been downright mean-spirited, mounding a tall berm/embankment to block the 40-mile coastline sea view of Balmedie residents who refused to sell their properties to him.

      By every objective Human measure, Trump is not deserving. However, in Spiritual measures, in terms of “agape”, his life holds enormous potential and value. But, even if he didn’t as a living creature hold value, by comparison to others, should he not share in the wealth of America simply because he exists and is a citizen?

      You state that I begin with a statement (14 Feb 2018 at 11:08 am) focused on feelings…which isolates emotions from objective measures, the degree to which empirical evidence and logic can be ignored allows human frailties, such as wishful beliefs to blossom into limitless human imagination.

      First of all, emotions are not isolated from objective measures and realities. They are (or can be) an integrated part of the human sentient intelligence.

      Tangentially, without going into depth, I do not agree “that if they have no impact on that which is measurable, these emotions have no meaning whatsoever.” I do not know what an emotion that “has no meaning” is. Whether the emotion arises caused by but not specific to an immediate trigger referring back to historical or idiopathic realities makes it no less meaningful. If the emotion arises out of something as simple as personal pleasure, it has meaning that is measurable.

      Of course, feelings of hope, love, hatred, and despair can be questioned. The context of these feelings is central to their analysis.

      As I progress through your argument, I feel that you are disturbed by and perhaps a bit contemptuous of a “pattern” in which you believe I construct my arguments or points based on feelings and emotions, which, you have already stated, makes them less objective, “real”, and evidence-based.

      Back in the 1990s, I visited my family at their homes in a southeast coastal town. I arrived as a quick, smart, gritty New Yorker (well, actually Northern N.J.), with attitude.

      In her beach community, my sister used to leave her keys in the car (and, her husband, his golf clubs!) just in case someone might need to move the car, so that they could get their own car out. Street parking was extremely limited. This was a public beach and lots of “strangers”, i.e., not local residents, visited this beach, back then.

      This was in a community of 2,560, immediately adjacent to a small town of 117,000. Easy walking distance between the two!

      The per capita income in the area was about $25,000 and the Median Household Income, less than $40,000. Not rich.

      Being a “New Yorker”, I felt contempt. What wusses! Leaving their keys in the car! It took me awhile to realize that it was I who had the problem!

      This community operated with a Spirit of confidence, trust, and caring. It was not a “feeling” of love for their neighbors. Indeed, they might not even know or like whoever was parked next to them.

      Spirits and feelings or emotions are different. Both are measurable or have measurable effects.

      The decision to distribute wealth in a way so that others are able to live basic, decent lives depends on the Spirit of our Nation. That Spirit is exemplified by our leaders. It’s measures are promulgated by our leaders. This is true across the World.

      Anyone who disagrees with this “mindset” is not necessarily heartless, hateful, or deficient in empathy. He or she is simply enculturated to have a different view. It is an OPINION based on deeply held, enculturated values.

      However, it is true that a deeply held and expressed Spirit of Diplomacy allowed Obama to soothe and renew relations, make new connections, and establish a new direction for cooperation in the world.

      By contrast, the current Spirit of Malice has emboldened hate groups, encouraged mass derision and division, and incurred cold-war isolationism that is frightening, taking us, again, to a potential brink of destruction.

      The Government does not act in a loving way. It cannot act in a loving way. The Government does not feel. However, the people who run or manage the government, as well as We, The People, ourselves, can decide to create a society in which there is a financial level below which no U.S. human should fall, a level that includes adequate food, not given to us in boxes of government-directed content, but content of our personal preferences and choices( ! ); decent housing; heat; air conditioning; transportation; healthcare; education; clothing; enrichment experiences for our children…

      It is a choice.

      Doing this would not negate merit-focused endeavor and action. And, all income, regardless of source or reason, could/would be taxed.

      With respect to the ratio of ideal wealth-to-individual productivity or whether a civilized Basic Universal Income disincentivizes, why should that be a question?

      Is it more valuable for someone to file or pack groceries or work 3 jobs to keep a roof over their family’s heads or to sit and read a book to their child, take a hike with the family, go dancing or surfing?

      At the end of a 60- or 70-hour work week at minimum wage or even $15 per hour, which human, whose sick child is in daycare or whose car is broken down, is more valuable to us, as a species? Which child is better off? The one in daycare, competing for attention and interest or the child who is constantly observed and catered to by a non-distraught, not exhausted parent?

      I don’t particularly “love” that parent or her child. I don’t even know them. But, who they are, who I am, is definitively shaped by the Spirits of generosity and kindness EXPECTED and expressed by a universal distribution of wealth in an evolvingly conscious Nation.

      Which helps us to become more human? Struggle, adversity, impoverishment or wealth? I use “wealth”, here, in the sense of having all basic needs met, with the basic collective understanding and belief that every person is important and valuable enough that he or she should not struggle simply to be alive and human. Taking the pressure off of survival frees us to be more. There is no virtue in asking a student to go hungry or to work more hours while they go to school full-time. Why do we make them suffer?

      Although we honor and understand the import of those who have overcome, Struggle is not a virtue.

      How we distribute our wealth is a socio-political choice. We decide: What kind of Society do we want to be? What kind of World?

      What is more imperative? Building a wall or feeding our children? Giving enormous tax breaks to the exorbitantly wealthy few or putting rooves over homeless families and people’s heads? What makes us a better people?

      The worlds of the future are the worlds of the mind.

      This is not wishful thinking. It is not an emotion. It is a fact.

      1. Katherine, perhaps you have read it, “Coming Apart” by Charles Murray. He is a Libertarian who has recommended that our government provide for its citizens a universal basic income (UBI). Its caveat is that all other welfare programs be eliminated. There are some fine videos of this idea’s presentation on U-tube. Creating Incentives to increase responsible behavior is a large part of this plan. The guidance and maintenance of HEALTHY incentives is at the heart of my recommendations, and usually at the heart of my disagreements with those of a leftist mindset. Murray’s approach is one I would support.

        Katherine and I agree that : “The feelings and beliefs surrounding “deserving” versus “undeserving” are rooted in our Judeo-Christian civil ethic, our value for: The Dignity of Human Life, The Traditional Family, A National Work Ethic, Common Decency, and Personal Accountability”. How these values are being redefined and are dividing class structures is at the heart of Murray’s book “Coming Apart”.

        Levels of “deserving” are linked to levels of “contribution” because it provides such a direct explanation of what “works” best to MOTIVATE every level of aptitude and skill to perform productively to its maximum. I do this on the premise that it is the way we humans will maximize the “nutrients” of the “soil” in which the greatest number can grow to OUR greatest benefit. The “dignity” of human life deserves that we advocate policies that ACTUALLY WORK to advance its maximum health and survival. Is it “decent” to do otherwise? What is more important than being “accountable” by directing our “work ethic” to serve that purpose?

        The fact that 10 of today’s workers can exceed the productivity of 100 19th century workers does not mean that 90 of today’s workers are non-productive or without merit. New niches of productive opportunity have opened due to the fact that we are less locked into labor required to meet the basic levels of survival. A free market with its profit incentives quickly attracts needed levels of talent to where the demand is greatest. This not only saves lives, it enhances the quality of life. It would be a strange, even corrupt definition of “decency” and “dignity” that would mock or harm such a proven, workable process.

        After listing what may be a number of actual Trump failures, Katherine tells us that “By every objective measure, Trump is not deserving.” Obviously Katherine did not try to list positive achievements that would by objective measurement shift his productive contributions into the positive realm. Is this because within her “flock” of true believers such thinking would be considered a form of blasphemy? Many of her friends on Facebook would defriend her. As one whose observations support conservative-leaning cures for the ills that befall humanity I am amazed at the degree to which Trump has quickly enacted policies that are likely to work best for the human future. I have in past comments listed at least 18 of them. Selecting Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is one. Tax reform is another. But then the leftist mind would see these as a loss – and relative to their agendas they would be correct.

        I had stated that if emotions “have no impact on that which is measurable, these emotions have no meaning whatsoever.” At the time I considered adding “except for psychedelic pleasures”. I decided that in the context regarding impact on society this would be a distraction. Feelings that impact in a measurable fashion are forces that need to be understood if we are planning to structure the future for human benefit.

        Katherine writes about the “Spirit of our nation” depending on the “Spirit exemplified by our leaders. It is interesting that she capitalizes “Spirit”. If used in the sense of a general mood or character of a nation I agree; however it can be argued that when leaders are democratically elected the “spirit” reflected is that of the current majority of its citizens, not necessarily a Spirit based in an external, religious or religious-like source.

        She tells us that Obama possessed a “Spirit of diplomacy” that allowed him to soothe and renew relations and establish a new direction for cooperation in the world. I agree that he spoke with great style. It is the content that falls apart with inspection. Sadly, most of his effort did not work out well. Russia’s “reset button” didn’t reset, it apparently aggravated relations in spite of (or because of) Hillary’s multifaceted collusions with Russian interests to enrich her personal and political ambitions. We have run out of kick-the-can road for delaying action on North Korean threats related to nuclear profusion. In general, a “new” direction isn’t necessarily a better direction. And then, there’s Iran.

        We are told that Trump is a “Spirit of Malice who has emboldened hate groups, encouraged mass derision and division, and incurred cold-war isolationism … taking us to a potential brink of destruction.” This sounds rather hateful on the part of Katherine, and it represents the “feelings” of the leftist flock. The vast percentage of Facebook unfriending has come from a highly righteous leftist mindSET unaccepting of any deviation of orthodoxy. It is certainly debatable as to which of the two Presidents best fit the “Spirit” of diminishment. We are truly divided, but have been for decades. It is the left that is preoccupied with race and other forms of “diversity”. We are not in a process of isolation as much as in a process of economic (and cultural-clash-avoidance) balancing related to reasonable measures of risk versus gain.

        Katherine is absolutely correct when she points out that “How we distribute our wealth is a socio-political choice. We decide: What kind of Society do we want to be? What kind of World?” I would say that we should want the kind of Society that “works best” to enhance the quality and survivability of being human. Our best chance at achieving this goal is guided by honing our skills in the use of the scientific method rather than an embracement of the superficially good-feeling platitudes of religious or religious-like secular beliefs. (I acknowledge that some religions have discovered and promote deeply wise policies that tend to achieve these very purposes. It is a challenge to isolate them from those which are placebo-effective, distractions, or outright harmful.)

        Katherine is somewhat misleading in asking: “What is more imperative? Building a wall or feeding our children? Giving enormous tax breaks to the exorbitantly wealthy few or putting rooves over homeless families and people’s heads? What makes us a better people?” She is misleading us by suggesting that it is one OR the other and not the healthiest balance of all. It is implied that leftist sentiments would guide us to be most successful in this task. I would suggest that she read the first four chapters in a book called “Basic Economics” by Thomas Sowell. “The allocation of scarce resources that have alternative uses” is common to ALL economic systems. Some of these systems do it more efficiently. Efficiency translates to more lives lived well. Two very different systems are competing for supremacy here in these (threatened) United States. In this book can be found a solid, life-saving argument for one over the other.

        1. Thank you for your comments and recommendations.

          The productivity story was exemplative, not a fact. It was meant merely to illustrate the issue that fewer people today are required to produce a greater GDP. Given that fact (not the specific ratio), the question posed was “What is the argument for distributing National wealth to all, including those whose labor is not required?”

          I find that you go off on wild tangents based on what are for you logical extensions of what you think I am saying.

          I find the comment, “Is this because within her “flock” of true believers…” to be patronizing and not supported by anything that I have said. It is a supposition of contempt on your part.

          It is true that I made no positive statement about Trump. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of anything positive to say. Certainly, overall, I think he is having a very hostile and negative influence in this country and the World. His beliefs, words, and behaviors are things that have to be overlooked or overcome. In no way is he a “leader”: Rabble-rouser, maybe; leader, no.

          I would agree that Trump was elected on and by the Spirit of anger that permeated certain people and groups, who do not represent a true majority of the people in the country. Trump’s victory was, instead, due to an allocation of Electors based on geographic distribution of the voting population.

          In describing Trump, I would strongly disagree that I have expressed “hateful” descriptions or used hateful words. In fact, Trump has been extremely divisive. Among the world’s educated and sophisticated leaders, he has been rude and aggressive. Reports and videos document this behavior. He is a racist who has encouraged violence toward those with whom he disagrees or dislikes. These observations are not hateful: They are facts.

          Again, your comments, “…embracement (sic) of the superficially good-feeling platitudes of religious or religious-like secular beliefs” mocks, demeans, and belittles my arguments. There is something about feelings that arouses your contempt and ire.

          I find that you broadly suggest that opposite ideologies are more productive and fair without actually stating what these are. Again, you broadly express your confidence in these “conservative” beliefs, without presenting actual data and examples of success.

          You throw words around – like “allocation of scarce resources” and “efficiency” – without commenting on systems research that has shown other methods of distribution to create greater stability and happiness among populations.
          ______

          World’s Happiest People (by Country)
          2016

          01 Norway
          02 Denmark
          03 Iceland
          04 Switzerland
          05 Finland
          06 Netherlands
          07 Canada
          08 New Zealand
          09 Australia
          10 Sweden

          19 U.S.A. -vs- 18
          ______

          In 2016, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) committed itself to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts. Happiness has fallen in the U.S.

          In 2007, the U.S. ranked 3rd among the OECD countries. In 2016, the U.S. ranked 19th. The reasons are declining social support and increased corruption. It is these same factors that explain why the Nordic countries do so much better.

          I do not know what the “two very different systems”, competing, are.

          Anyway, enough.

          Again, I appreciate the recommended sources. Thank you.

          I will make no further comments to this particular discussion. Again, thank you for your input and responses.

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