Monday, January 14, 2013
I've spent more time speaking to Liberal perspectives on Yahoo News stories in comments areas. These various comments set out, over time, a number of ideas I don't have time to develop in major essays.
In regard to the article "U.S. states flirt with major tax changes":
Republicans are plainly not just foolish but also inexcusably and monstrously VICIOUS. Taxing the poor and rich at the same rate is profoundly regressive. It crushes the poor so they can never rise, because every dollar they spend on everything is taxed, whereas the rich spend very little of their income, so pay almost nothing. Among the taxes currently in place, only the progressive income tax is truly fair, tho there are ways of taxing WEALTH (that is, accumulated, unspent income), not just income. The rich, who are proposing these "trickle-down", "voodoo economics" measures, do not seem to understand that the more outrageously unfair the distribution of wealth becomes, the more the Nation is set up for a REVOLUTIONARY situation, in which the rich will be cut down as they were in the French Revolution. Heads might LITERALLY roll, by the tens of thousands. We should erect a supersized sculpture of a GUILLOTINE on the Washington Mall and in a comparably prominent place in every state capital to remind politicians and their masters, the rich, that if they crush the little guy too badly, they will find themselves suffering the ultimate "redistribution": execution, and having their bodies chopped up for parts for decent working people (no transplants for the rich).At article "No Labels enters new era by shedding ‘centrist’ image":
[Re suggestion that Congress shouldn't be paid until they resolve budget issues:] Would you work for free? They can play ruf too: "You don't pay us? We don't work. We pass NO budget; the Government shuts down; the economy goes into freefall, and -- guess what? We're RICH. We're not going to be hurt by the shutdown of the Govt for MONTHS. How about you?"In response to a 'joke' at an article about freezing temperatures in California, about Californians having to move their pot plants indoors because of freezing temperatures:
So funny, these endless drug jokes. Never mind that 39,000 Americans die each and every year from illegal drugs, and 60,000 Mexicans have died in violence fueled by U.S. drug users. Isn't that FUNNY?Dozens of slimy commenters voted thumbs-down on that remark, because, presumably, they think drug joke ARE funny, and the massive death produced by drugs here and in Mexico is unimportant. There are an awful lot of awful, evil people online.
At article "Report: House GOP 'Seriously Entertaining' Debt Default Idea":
How very dishonest. The Republican Reagan TRIPLED the national debt. The Republican Bush I added another third, so after the Reagan-Bush years, the national debt had QUADRUPLED. Then the Democrat Clinton reined in the debt and produced a surplus. Then Bush II DOUBLED the national debt AGAIN. So under Republicans, the national debt OCTUPLED.And:
If the Federal Government would take away redistricting of FEDERAL districts from the states and let COMPUTERS draw nongerrymandered districts, there would be a lot fewer crazies elected to Congress.And:
Immigration policy is not intended to steal educated people from Third World countries. U.S. education is supposed to help the Third World DEVELOP. It is not to parasitize and subvert the development of poor countries.And:
The problem is not the Tea Party loons. It is the refusal of the 'mainstream' Republicans to stand UP to them and tell them that they are taking the Republican Party to the verge of extinction as a national force.And:
Cheaters consume NO significant portion of the national budget. Illegals and cheats are insignificant distractions from the real costs entailed in governing a country.And:
Foreign aid is 1% of the Federal budget. Do some research on the FACTS before spewing nonsense.And:
Would those Medicare cuts be MEANS-TESTED? Or should poor people's assistance be cut equally with benefits for the rich? -- who shouldn't get ANY Govt benefits.And:
Drivel. Taxes are DUES for being allowed to live in a wonderful, rich country in which infrastructure, education, technology, and other SOCIAL expenditures, many of them Governmental, enable people to do and live well. Without those things produced by OTHER people, you couldn't make a dime. Indeed, there wouldn't BE a dime, a Federal coin, without the Federal Government. It's NOT 'your' money. It has OUR name on it: "United States of America". Without the United States of America, all 'your' money would be decorative paper or engraved metal, but nothing more. Be grateful, or begone. Go to some country more to your liking. But there ISN'T any, is there? So let's add a third option: be grateful, begone, or be QUIET.And:
Any budget has two elements: income and expense. If you increase income, you don't have to cut expenses.And:
That [a government default] would be fine if only Republicans were hurt. Alas, EVERYONE would be hurt -- even the rich, the only people the Republicans care about. If a stock-market crash results, the rich will have capital LOSSES, not capital gains. But they don't believe the Democrats will really allow that to happen. They expect Obama to cave, as he always does.And:
President Eisenhower -- five-star GENERAL Eisenhower -- warned us almost exactly 52 years ago about the "military-industrial complex". Why haven't we YET wised up to these merchants of death?And:
I just love the way people pretend that the money we have spent and continue to spend does not benefit today's children and grandchildren. Of COURSE it does.And:
[Re remark about unhappy Liberals:] Liberals are unhappy because society is so unfair. Conservatives don't care about fairness, and can always make excuses for unfairness -- as long as THEY are not the ones being treated unfairly.And:
[Re suggestion that the people do the voting on bills, not Congress:] Do YOU have thousands of hours a year to devote to reading and researching bills, holding hearings, and otherwise doing the deliberative job that members of Congress do on legislation? Of course not. There have been many ballot initiatives that have gone very seriously awry, because of simplistic thinking like yours.And:
You are confused, or a very poor propagandist. The REPUBLICAN President George W. Bush was in office EIGHT years [not six], 2001-2009 [not 2001-2006], during which time the national debt went from $5.8 trillion to $11.9 trillion, a difference of $6.1 trillion greater. On a base of $5.8T when Bush entered office, that means the Republicans DOUBLED the national debt in his Administration. (Search for the U.S. Treasury webpage "Historical Debt Outstanding - Annual 2000 - 2010" to see the truth.) [The $11.9T figure is for the last budget year of the Bush Administration, as at 9/30/2009.]And:
You know nothing about finance. The Bush Administration DOUBLED the national debt, in part by putting TWO wars on a credit card.And:
How are you going to [both shut down the Government and] seal the borders if there is no Government to do that?And:
You people have regaled us with this insane paranoia against that 'un-American' black man in the White House for four years, and the Nation REPUDIATED your crap. You LOST. Go away and be quiet. And seek professional help if you REALLY believe Obama is trying to destroy the United States and become dictator. But you DON'T really believe any such thing, do you? You are just a troublemaker lying to annoy your betters.And:
Under the Fourteenth Amendment, Congress would have to affirmatively renounce debts -- or pay them.And:
Pls stop pretending that the Government serves only SOME people, and that other people are victimized. That's not the way things work. Government activities keep society working. If you think we don't need Government, but things will just run themselves fine, you need to be in a mental institution.And:
Reminder: when the stock market crashes, so do pension funds and the holdings of the rich. Nobody gets off scott-free.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
More Short Comments at Yahoo News Stories
I don't always address significant topics in essays, but sometimes offer short opinion pieces in the form of comments at the end of Yahoo News stories. Here are some.
In response to issues raised by the story "Californians brace for nights of freezing temps", January 12, 2013:
Yes, Prv8eye, a lot of people were misled by crazy propaganda about "imprisoning" people for being "sick", as tho mental "illness" is equivalent to a cold - rather than tuberculosis, typhoid, or something else that required quarantine. What enabled naive people's delusions about insanity, to advocate closing mental hospitals was psychoactive medications. What they forgot is that when crazy people became moderately better while taking their meds, they stopped taking their meds!, and then returned to madness. The cure to "deinstitutionalization" is obvious: "reinstitutionalization", and, in the case of people released from mental institutions with medications they HAVE to take to stay reasonably sane, FOLLOWUP by nurses and social workers to make sure they keep taking their meds. If they stop, it should be right back to the mental hospital for them. Perhaps science can create a device, like a breathalyzer linked to a house-arrest leg collar, that detects whether a released lunatic has taken his/her meds, and if not. sends out a signal to the authorities to send someone to compel them to take their meds or force them back into custody. Instead, we have just consented to live with the consequences of a failed policy of deinstitutionalization, and consigned tens or hundreds of thousands of insane people to life on their own, hopeless and miserable on the streets. Then decent people are made to feel that we are a heartless society, when we are the opposite: a society with more sympathy than common sense. We need "tuf luv" for crazy people, not empty-headed concern for their "civil rights". We also need anti-parasitization statutes that forbid people to panhandle, and make arrests for panhandling a way to bring lunatics into a diagnostic setting in which they can be helped, whether, in their deluded state, they want to be helped or not. A humane society does not let people live on the streets in freezing weather.And:
Man-made "global warming" is plainly NOT happening. The substituted term, "climate change", is so vague as to be meaningless, and seems to cover both warming AND cooling!, as tho both could be happening at the same time from the same cause. Tellingly, the greatest changes have been at the poles, where NOBODY LIVES. In the Arctic and Antarctic circles put together reside only about 2 MILLION of the planet's 7 BILLION people. If human activity were responsible for "climate change"/"global warming", one should expect to see greater effects where there are a great many people, and much smaller effects where there are no people. Exactly the opposite is the case. The poles are where the greatest changes are seen, and there are essentially no people there. What distinguishes the poles from other regions is the magnetic field that intercepts solar radiation from mid-latitudes and redirects it to high latitudes (the poles). Desertification is one way in which human activity might have LOCAL effects, but not planet-wide effects. And there are natural limits to global warming from anything but long-term solar variations (such as the Ice Ages, which people had nothing to do with). Warmer temperatures mean more evaporation from the oceans, lakes, etc., and what goes up must come down, as rain and snow over not just the oceans and lakes, but also lands long dry, which cools them. And the more clouds there are in the atmosphere, the more solar radiation is reflected back into space.In response to an article about Scott Brown's contemplating a run for the Senate to fill John Kerry's spot if Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State:
It's interesting to see that, once again, a vast inpouring of Rightwing money FAILED to win in Massachusetts. Scott Brown should be a spokesmodel. He's beautiful, but that's not enuf to justify a place in the U.S. Senate. It might do to sell us clothing, electronics, or other products or services, however.In response to an article about the White House answering a moronic petition to build a Star Wars-like "Death Star":
Petitions that cannot be taken seriously should be answered uniformly: "The White House will not waste taxpayer money answering nonsense."And:
High-tech firms are shoveling b.s. to get Congress to import cheap labor. There is NO shortage of good people in the United States, just a shortage of good people who will work for bad wages and few benefits.And:
I hope whoever wrote that White House response did it on his own time. No way should paid employees waste taxpayer money on NONSENSE.In response to an article about a Federal judge ruling that Moslem prisoners should be allowed to congregate five times a day for group prayers, outside their cells:
Prisoners should NOT be wandering around unsupervised, for ANY activity. They are supposed to lose their freedom, and be rehabilitated. They should be in educational programs, psychological programs, etc., to rework their minds to positive behavior, not engaging in rote prayers of no substance, to a nonexistent 'God'.In response to the article "'Zombie' Planet's Rogue Orbit Around Star Shocks Scientists", January 12, 2013:
When will astronomers admit that they have NO actual images for these asserted phenomena? When will media stop publishing internally self-confuting NONSENSE from astronomers? First the planet is said to be only a dust cloud; now it's supposed to be an actual planet, 3x the size of Jupiter, and there's supposed to be a dust cloud only 10,000 years old. Why does anybody BELIEVE such nonsense? There is NO WAY anyone could know the age of a dust cloud. Stop reporting FICTION as fact.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Remarks on Yahoo News Stories
I offered some comments at several stories on Yahoo News today.
In response to an article about a Texas gun-'rights' advocate ranting on the Piers Morgan show:
That Texas gun nut knows NOTHING about the origins of the Second Amendment. It had NOTHING to do with fending off tyranny on the part of our OWN government, or protecting against crime. NOTHING. It had to do with defending against, still, the British Empire, which was inciting INDIANS to violence against Americans, and the possibility that other European empires would try to break up the Nation and annex it piecemeal to their empires. The Framers of the Constitution NEVER thought the Government they created would become tyrannical, because they built in checks and balances to prevent tyranny. And ONLY members of a well-regulated militia were to have a right to guns. The Framers could not even BEGIN to conceive of the lethality of today's weapons. When they wrote the Second Amendment, it took the best gunners something like 30 seconds to fire and reload a MUSKET. Had the Framers known about semi-automatic and fully automatic MACHINE GUNS, they would NEVER have written gun rights into the Constitution.In response to other people's comments at the article, "6 Career Myths You Shouldn't Fall For":
Lots of bad advice there. The article is completely right. The idea that everybody can start their own business is BULL. There are many skills involved in a business that YOU have to master, or pay for: bookkeeping, publicity, client/customer contact, manufacturing or purchasing, legal matters (contracts, warranties), insurance, and on and on and on. And if you have a physically or mentally challenging full-time job you cannot take on a second, esp. if you also have family responsibilities. You CANNOT "have it all" unless you are independently wealthy, usually from inheritance. There aren't enuf hours in the day to do justice to all the demands if you have a full-time job, a part-time career, and a partner and kids you MUST NOT neglect.And:
Cut the Radical Right CRAP. The problems in starting a business have NOTHING to do with Government regulation. Most small businesses fail within 5 years, because they are undercapitalized, the people who start them don't have sufficient expertise in the field, and/or they are unable to distinguish themselves from better-capitalized and better-run businesses, large or small. Some also fail because they exhaust the principals, who tire of ramming their head against a brick wall every day for 12 hours a day.In response to an article about New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney clumsily saying that Chris Christie "prayed" for Superstorm Sandy to strike in order to distract people from Christie's failures and produce jobs in cleanup:
I find it bizarre that Sweeney, a very prominent sellout to Christie's program, the top "Christicrat" in the Legislature, would dare to position himself to run for Governor. One Christie is much more than enuf. We don't need a Democratic version too. Richard Codey is probably the Dems' best hope for Governor. He had a highly successful run as Acting Governor when Gov. McGreevey resigned. McGreevey should never have resigned just because he is gay — and maybe it's time for him to return to Drumthwacket (the official residence of NJ's Governor). Cory Booker, the mayor of my city, Newark, has declined to run against Christie, holding out for U.S. Senate when our very-old Senator, Frank Lautenberg, should retire (tho he has suggested he won't) in 2014. Dems have got to stop fawning over Christie. Of course, nature may take its course and strike down our very morbidly obese present Governor, and save us from the disaster of his re-election. But ONE DAY'S actions with regard to President Obama, and another day's criticism of the U.S. House of Representatives' Republicans in no way makes up for a course of years of criminally irresponsible favoritism to the rich at the expense of everybody else. Christie must go. But Sweeney should not even THINK of running against him.In response to an article about where to build a new FBI HQ:
The dollar figures [$1.2B just for land!] are PREPOSTEROUS, esp. in a lingering Great Recession. And why is a building built in the 1970s crumbling now? Surely there is cheap office space already available in DC, for being vacant now. As for the location, NOTHING should go to Maryland or Virginia. The Framers of the Constitution created the District of Columbia to house the Federal Govt, and that's where all HQ buildings belong.In reply to an article about British unhappiness with the European Union:
Britain and Ireland are both in the wrong Union. They should leave the EU and join the United States, as several states.See http://expansionistparty.tripod.com/Britbounds.html.
Monday, January 07, 2013
Potassium and Birch Beer
I generally, in this blog, speak to political issues. But I have discovered what are plainly NOT generally-understood realities about health issues. Let me now speak to two such issues.
(1) I did mention, on December 27, 2011, that a potassium deficiency could explain muscle aches or pains in many elderly people.
I also drink a lot of juices, mainly for the potassium to fite muscle pains that old people (esp. but not exclusively old people) can get from a potassium deficiency. I mix carrot juice with the store-brand mix of vegetable juices that approximates V8, for a richer flavor, and hopefully for some help with eyesight, tho I now admit that I must get distance glasses. ... Both Pathmark and ShopRite have a good house-brand vegetable-juice mix. Orange juice is also rich in potassium. But even with these vegetable and fruit juices, I still sometimes have debilitating muscle aches (pains, really) in my upper arms unless I also eat a banana or some dried apricots in a given day, and take a potassium-supplement tablet. The potassium gluconate carried by, say, Walgreens, is a really feeble supplement, providing only 3% of the daily requirement for people in general. Old people may need much more than younger people, to fite awful muscle pains, inasmuch as utilization of potassium by older people may be inefficient. 8 ounces of carrot juice, v8 (in my notation, lowercase-v indicates store brand), or orange juice supplies 13%. Other sources of potassium include lentils and kidney beans.I think, however, that I grossly understated how common and oppressive such potassium-deficiency-related physical consequences might be.
If I get enuf potassium, my muscle pains entirely vanish. By contrast, massage won't do a bit of good with muscle aches or pains that result from a deficiency of potassium (or magnesium; less frequently consequential). My brother Brian read somewhere that vitamin D can help the body make the most of ingested potassium, but only if the vitamin D is in higher concentrations than is found in the typical multivitamin. So I might also have to take two multis a day to get enuf vitamin D to make best use of my potassium intake.
Younger people who can't get rid of muscle pains thru hot showers, baths, or massage, might try boosting their potassium. It might work wonders.
A couple of days ago, I was in a Pathmark supermarket in South Orange, NJ, to deposit a money order at the Bank of America branch within that supermarket (which branch, alas, is to close on February 22nd). I then walked some 15 feet to ask the pharmacists there "Do you have a potassium supplement greater than 3% of daily requirement?" (3% is the 'strength' of the potassium gluconate supplement available over-the-counter). One of the two women there plainly did not know, so deferred to the other, who said she didn't think so, because it is possible to take in too much potassium, so you'd have to have a prescription from a doctor, who would then monitor your potassium level. I mentioned that I had a friend who had a potassium excess, once, but he's dead now — from another cause (heart attack). I was being playful, and made them smile, if ill-at-ease. The death of my BEST friend at the time, however, was nothing like funny, and too much potassium in his blood may have contributed to his death from a heart attack. But he was very overweight, and I mentioned his morbid obesity to him on more than one occasion.
His response was, "I'm going to be dead a lot longer than I am alive." And so he died, before his 49th birthday. I cannot, right now, even check when that was, because I culled out the dead from my electronic address book. I am now sorry I did that, and may, if I find the necessary data, restore dates of death to friends and family in that word-processing file. In any case, my best friend, Jay Friend, died years and years ago, and I miss him still. (He had no one in his family to miss him, unfortunately, because he had become estranged from his immediate family, something I told him, at the time I heard of it, that I did not understand. My remaining family is frequently in touch, more than once a week by email. I suspect that even as he lay dying in his bed, from a heart attack, he didn't think that he had not reconciled with his brother, Sandy. That strikes me as unspeakably sad.)
In any case, I want to pass on to other people things that few will have heard of thru friends, doctors, or even the Internet.
Potassium is an indispensable nutrient to prevent muscle pains, at least in older people. I do not know why this is, for all practical purposes, a profound and carefully kept secret. But if you have muscle pains or aches that no other measure, be it hot showers or topical lotions or massages relieve, you may just have a potassium deficiency. And if you up your potassium intake enuf, those pains may disappear entirely, so that within two days you will not even remember having had such muscle pains. And they will not recur as long as you continue to take in a healthy measure of potassium.
What IS a healthy measure of potassium? Potassium is expected, by health professionals, to be one of the most commonly, and heavily, ingested nutrients anyone will, in the ordinary course of a day, take in. That would explain why NO manufacturer of dietary supplements offers a potassium supplement of greater strength than 3% of daily requirement. My multivitamin's potassium content is 2% of the daily requirement. Absurd, at least for old people.
Unfortunately, many people need MUCH more than a 3% supplement of daily requirement to stave off muscle pains. But almost nobody talks about this, in person or online. Yes, you can get this information, but only if you know to search for it. A potassium deficiency is called "hypokalemia", and it can be serious, not just hurtful in terms of pains to muscles of the back and shoulders. I do not know why this is very well hidden information, such that people in general do not know to try eating or drinking foods high in potassium (e.g., dried apricots or salmon). There is, in any case, almost certainly no need for (old) people to suffer truly debilitating muscle pains, such that they cannot pick up anything heavy, if their problem is only insufficient potassium.
(2) I also discovered, absolutely inadvertently, that BIRCH BEER soda may have medicinal qualities. The area of the (older, male) body on which birch beer may have medicinal effects is the prostate. But studies and folk medicine suggest that things present in birch beer soda may fite other common problems in the health of older men. I started drinking birch beer again recently after several years when it was not available in my local supermarket. The Pathmark chain had a great, store-brand birch-beer soda during my first couple of years in Newark, NJ, but stopped offering it in, perhaps, 2004. I don't know why.
Recently, I noticed that Pathmark offered "Pennsylvania Dutch" brand birch beer, at a higher price than Pathmark had offered for its own. I tried it, first, only when it was on sale, and loved it. After drinking some for several days (give it some time, and perhaps a few liters' consumption, if you try this), I noticed a change in my bodily functions. I am now, as of late December, 68 years old. I have had trouble with my prostate. But since I have been drinking birch beer, those problems have subsided. Am I the only one on Earth to have noticed this correlation?
"Correlation is not causation" is advice worth heeding. But that does NOT mean that one should ignore a physical effect you notice that you have not seen confirmed elsewhere. Even if no medical website, or doctor you consult, tells you that birch beer has helpful effects as to reducing the size and obstructiveness of your prostate, you nonetheless experience improvement in your life from drinking birch beer, ignore the naysayers and reap the benefits of birch beer. If your results are truly noteworthy, tell your doctor. Despite what you may believe, doctors know only what they're told, be it by medical schools or patients. And if the real world tells them things that med school had not, SOME doctors will heed their patients, and even report their feedback to med schools.