Monday, November 25, 2019

Even the Wealthiest Support at Least Some Tax Reform.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have agreed that they should be paying more taxes and Jeff Bezos could afford to pay out a 38 billion dollar divorce settlement.

Money -- Catherine Clifford
Wealth Number Ranking Shows Inequality
Indeed, in 2018, the world’s wealthiest 26 individuals had the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the population, according to an Oxfam report published in January. That’s down from the 43 wealthiest people the year before.

St.Louis Fed
What Wealth inequality in America Looks Like
Wealth inequality in America has grown tremendously from 1989 to 2016, to the point where the top 10% of families ranked by household wealth (with at least $1.2 million in net worth) own 77% of the wealth “pie.” The bottom half of families ranked by household wealth (with $97,000 or less in net worth) own only 1% of the pie.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Resistance from the beginning has been about trying to nullify the 2016 Presidential election by impeaching Donald Trump. They have spent 3 years not investigating a crime, but investigating to try and find a crime.  

Global News
Adam Schiff slams “charlatan in the White House” at California convention
Schiff urged Democrats to help “send that charlatan in the White House back to the golden throne he came from.”

Hamilton Wouldn’t Impeach Trump
Hamilton on impeachment
 “The prosecution of [such offenses] will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties, more or less friendly, or inimical, to the accused. In many cases, it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side, or on the other; and in such cases, there will always be the greater danger, that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”

Attorney General Bill Barr on the Scorched-Earth War of Resistance

Daily Mail -- Ariel Zilber
Bill Barr says the Left is sabotaging the President by waging a scorched-earth war of resistance.

‘In waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war of resistance against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in a systematic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law,’ Barr told guests of the Federalist Society convention in the capital.
Barr, who was named Attorney General by Trump after the resignation of Jeff Sessions last year, accused the ‘resistance’ of ‘dangerous’ and ‘incendiary’ language by questioning the legitimacy of the sitting government.  ‘This is a very dangerous and indeed incendiary notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic,’ Barr said.

Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture at the Federalist Society's 2019 National Lawyers Convention

   Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called “The Resistance,” and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration.  Now, “resistance” is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power. It obviously connotes that the government is not legitimate. This is a very dangerous – indeed incendiary – notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic.  What it means is that, instead of viewing themselves as the “loyal opposition,” as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

It is not just a do-nothing Congress, but one of total resistance and attempts by the Democrats to nullify the election of Donald Trump.

For three years there has been a cabal of the deep state, a “coup” to impeach President Trump. There have not been investigations of a crime, but investigations to find a crime.  This has been “the insurance policy” described by Peter Strzok. The accusations have included collusion, obstruction, racism, mental incompetence, and now abuse of power and possibly still the emolument cause.  The liberal press has promoted these narratives. Since impeachment is a political process the Democratic House of Representatives will bring articles of impeachment and these will be voted down by the Republican Senate.

   The double standards of the intelligence community investigations and the  political nature of the impeachment efforts will be highlighted by the Horowitz report right in the middle of of the hearings.

   In the meantime, there has been a do-nothing Congress with the Democrats resistance resulting in no significant action on infrastructure, USAMC tariffs, funding the budget, immigration policy, or border security.

   This will all play out in the Presidential election of 2020 which will again be very close and with significant consequences.

Fox News

Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys representing the intelligence community whistleblower at the center of the Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry, tweeted conspicuously in January 2017 that a "coup has started" and that "impeachment will follow ultimately."

Then, in July 2017, Zaid remarked, "I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president." Also that month, Zaid tweeted, "We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters."

RealClear Politics

Dershowitz said the effort to get Trump on any crime reminded him of Stalin's secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria who famously said: "Show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime."

"Whether you’re from New York or the middle of the country, you should be frightened by efforts to try to create crimes out of nothing," Dershowitz said. "The latest twist was people on television, particularly CNN and MSNBC, are saying that if the president or somebody else were to name the whistleblower in the Ukrainian situation that person would be guilty of a crime."

"Well, I spent the afternoon yesterday searching the federal criminal statutes from beginning to end. I couldn’t find the crime."

“First they made up collusion… I searched the statute books. There’s no crime of collusion… with a foreign country. After that, they said obstruction of Congress,” Dershowitz said. "In a desperate effort to try to find crimes [committed by] President Trump, they’re just making it up. And that means we are all in danger."

James H. Rutherford, M.D.

How do artificial intelligence, the American power grid, capital punishment, tariffs against autocracies, the theat of nuclear war, and medical ethics inter-relate.

   Artificial intelligence can be a great step forward, but it can also be used for nefarious purposes and complex computer systems can be vulnerable to attack.  

   The use of facial recognition and all of the tracking done through cell phones, social media, and financial transactions is being used in China to create a “personal social credit score.” The Chinese government can control where you live,work, and travel, where your children go to school, and limit your freedom of expression and religion. 

   The use of coercive power has led to the development of nuclear weapons and a foreign policy of mutual assured destruction.  A combination of brinkmanship and computer controlled response times for nuclear weapons measured in minutes now threatens not only self-destruction, but also the destruction of most of the foundations of life on earth. 

   An electromagnetic pulse attack (EMP) via a high altitude nuclear detonation or a cyberattack could destroy the Amercan electrical power grid. The loss of power, communication, and transportation would lead to total chaos and threaten survival.

   Most autocratic government use capital punishment or the threat of capital punishment to maintain control. This is the company that we keep with our continued use of the death sentence. 

   China, Russia, Iran, and their proxies in North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela have nothing in common except their common goal to overthrow the Western liberal tradition and make the world safe for autocracies.  The tariffs are thus about much more than the economy. 

   Max Weber described government as having a monopoly on coercive force. That coercive power can be used to suppress individual freedoms. Terror tactics, with the use the asymmetrical power of torture, killing, and destruction, can also be used also by anacrhists and non-governmental groups for political purposes.

   We now live in a pluralistic global community with access to weapons of mass destruction. There is a need to pay attention to diversity, but because we are very tribal there is also a need to recognize what we share in common.  Medical ethics are based on a respect for life, understood as a respect for our individual personal dignity and our common humanity. Medical ethics also understand human nature to be multidimensional which leads toward what has been described as a balance of consciousness, a reflective equilibrium, or a parliament of the mind. Medical ethics in this context provide some coherence to moral and political philosophy.  They are one source of an applied moral philosophy that can provide cross-cultural understanding and enable ethical dialogue. In a political context, medical ethics at least have the capacity for accommodation in a pluralistic global community without coercion or alienation.  


Fast Company

Amnesty International

The Far Center

The Far Center

Paper given at the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing

James Rutherford, MD