This is too big for Facebook

I intended to post this on Facebook but they only allow 8000 characters. I thought I was only one character but guess I’m too wordy.

This long winded post is my final response to some of the comments and proclamations in this thread about what is true, what is false , who is right and who is wrong and if we, American citizens, can ever have a rational discussion again. Before I start, let me preface my comments with some observations. I have no reason to contradict that each of you are most likely nice people, love your families, are kind to animals and want the best for America. That being said, each of us have very different ways of expressing our views. As a Republican I am thoroughly disgusted with  the tone of many Democrats. I find their vitriol troubling and contributing to the divide we have in our country. Republicans as a group are not racists, homophobes, misogynists, xenophobes, deplorables, Nazis or any other derogatory label attributed to them by Democrats. Neither is Donald Trump. We are also not stupid. As a population, there are examples of people having these traits in both parties but I expect the numbers to be very low.

My first post was based on Jack’s shared image showing claims made by CBS and Forbes about our economy and how it relates to individual income. As a curious sort of person, I wanted to test these claims against available data and make up my own mind. From my analysis, I concluded the claims were false or at best heavily skewed toward the notion that anything and everything happening during the Trump presidency is bad. Moreover, by association, Trump supporters like me are accused by the left as being clueless and mindless followers, a characterization I’m going to reject without any supporting data.

Eric suggested that I let the idea sink in that Trump told 16,000 lies. On the surface this looks more than a bit contrived so I decided to look into the source of the claim. It appears that this statistic was reported by the Washington Post, acknowledged to report predominately liberal, anti-Trump articles. The Washington Post claims to have created the Fact Checker database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every statement Trump has uttered. I’m pretty familiar with databases having directed or written database code in both Oracle and mySQL. From my experience, databases are just electronic filing cabinets where data is stored in fields, each representing a class of information. For example, in a simple database, names are contained in a name field, addresses are contained in an address field. If an address is entered into a name field a query of the database to find all the names will result in erroneous information being output. With respect to WaPo’s claim, Trumps first three years – or 1094 days in office resulted in 16,241 lies being detected; 14.8 lies/day on average. In order to make sure Trump’s lies are stored in the right field, machine learning and artificial intelligence are required to accurately parse his statements. I’ve been away from state-of-the-art computing technology for awhile but AI has to distinguish between True Positive statements, False Positive statements,  False Negative statements and True Negative statements. MIT and other major technology universities are working on this to automate analysis of fake news vs real news but claim the solution remains far off. So, Fact Checker’s algorithm appears to be, if Trump said it, it is a lie. That is consistent with many of the comments in this thread but I’m going to claim WaPo’s Fact Checker is a pipe dream.

Eric also commented that Trump has driven up the deficit, removed environmental protection, damaged relations with allies, destroyed a good agreement with Iran and made health care worse. Each of these topics are important to all Americans, conservative and liberal alike. So why are we arguing about these topics? Perhaps there is more value in discussing the subjects rationally than accusing Trump and his supporters of not caring about any of this stuff and guilty of systemic ignorance.

DEFICIT: I posted an analysis of the deficit on my blog on January 18. Yes, the deficit has increased under Trump’s presidency but I would hope your curiosity would consider examining facts around the deficit and how much control a president has over it. Republicans don’t want deficits either but unlike Democrats, we are willing to discuss the problem.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Trump’s stance on environmental policy has changed dramatically from that of Barack Obama. Obama focused on policies that reduce carbon emissions with reliance on renewable energy sources. Obama’s policies closed down coal mines, stopped or delayed exploration for natural gas and oil and invested heavily in failed solar and wind projects. His approach devastated employment in the energy sector, reducing both individual and corporate taxes that would have contributed to deficit reduction. Having first-hand knowledge of EPA regulations as they pertain to the semiconductor industry, some regulations are essential to protecting the environment. Many are bureaucratic red tape that don’t contribute to environmental protection in any way. Trump did not pull the plug on scrubbers on exhaust stacks, water treatment facilities or hazardous chemical transportation codes. Suggesting that Trump has destroyed the EPA is irresponsible when in fact, he has streamlined it, potentially lowering government expenditures that contribute to lowering the deficit.

ALLY RELATIONS: I expect you are referring to NATO. Only 8 of the 29 NATO members were contributing 2% of their GDP that they agreed to. The U.S. provides 22% of NATO’s budget or about $2.5 billion. Trump proposed providing 16%, leveling the playing field and making NATO support fair to all. It is a president’s responsibility to make sure we are spending taxpayer money responsibly, not continuing with bad agreements made by previous administrations.

IRAN AGREEMENT: The Iran agreement had no teeth in it. Iran had restrictions on inspections and would be allowed to enrich uranium over the long-term thus not preventing them from creating a nuclear weapon. With Iran’s pledge to wipe Israel off the map and attack the Great Satan; us. Going along to get along is not a good strategy. Trump was right to withdraw from a terrible agreement.

HEALTH CARE: The ACA (Obamacare) and the AHCA (Trumpcare) are similar with the following exceptions.

  • Trumpcare removed the federal tax penalty for not having health insurance
  • Income limits on tax credits where increased under Trumpcare
  • Trumpcare placed limits on the maximum tax credit the government will pay
  • Trumpcare allows purchase of health plans that apply to the consumer
  • States can define mandatory benefits (local control)
  • Trumpcare allows states to manage their Medicaid funds
  • Trumpcare provides a pool of money to help insurance companies cover high risk individuals

Additionally, Trump’s agenda is focusing on lowering prescription drug prices, allowing Americans to choose a plan that fits their needs, provide more plan choices, link payments to value, protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, approval of more generic drugs and a host of other patient friendly features. Congress has failed to address these proposals because they are too busy working on their impeachment fiasco. If you’re concerned about the deficit, Democrat proposals add substantially to the deficit. Elizabeth Warren’s plan is estimated at $20.5 trillion and as we know, estimates are always low. Trump and the Republican party are opposed to the government control model, not to a quality, affordable health plan. On a side note, I have a severely autistic grandson that lives in Lake Oswego, OR. When Obama Care came out, the insurance my daughter had for him was cancelled and no insurance company in Oregon would provide a policy for him.

Another topic that has been discussed on this thread relates to the climate change. The consensus among Democrats is that, as related by Eric, “there is not a scientific controversy in the general idea of anthropogenic climate change any more than there is a scientific controversy over whether or not gravity is true.” This is patently untrue. The website lists the top 10 climate change scientists supporting man caused climate change and the top five scientists skeptical of that view. Both groups contain highly qualified scientists, all having extraordinary credentials. The first thing I noticed is that the skeptics were treated with disdain in much the same way Republicans are treated by Democrats. Rational thinking people consider minority reports as having value. History is replete with disruptive scientific opinions, technologies and business models. The behavior directed to these skeptics is  not unique to climate scientists as I have seen the same behavior with scientists in the semiconductor industry. Sometimes the power of the personality decides what is settled rather than the science itself. There are many examples where the minority view prevails.

  • Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) accepted the idea that there were four physical elements – earth, water, air and fire and the earth was the center of the universe. This was considered conventional wisdom.
  • Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) proposed, in contrast to “the law” of the time that the sun was stationary in the center of the universe and the earth rotated around it.
  • Galileo (1564-1642) was condemned by other astronomers for championing the model proposed by Copernicus. He was tried by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, found guilty of heresy and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.
  • Thomas Edison proposed that electricity be distributed using a DC supply whereas Nikola Tesla supported AC. Tesla had the minority opinion in this controversy but his approach prevailed.
  • In the mid-1980’s Motorola created a constellation of satellites to create the world-wide cell phone system known as Iridium. As a member of Motorola’s Science Advisory Board Associates in that time frame I talked with a number of engineers on that project. They were angry about the technology that was being used as it was old and being replaced with CDMA, a Qualcomm invention that is used today. The decision to use TDMA technology in Iridium was forced by the power of personality of the president of that business unit. Consequently, a decision made by a forceful voice began the decline in what was once a great company. This sounds a lot like the controversy over climate change. The loudest voices will force the expenditure of trillions of dollars with an outcome unlikely to change anything.

In my post that highlighted a number of liars, racists, etc. in the history of the Democrat party I mentioned LBJ. I was admonished that this had no relevance as this occurred 50 years ago. The comment came from someone that is somewhere around 50 and would have no recollection of the political climate at that time. I was 27 years old and found the reference very relevant. Just like the references to ancient astronomers.

So, to close, I want you to think about some things:

  • It has been proposed that a Democrat president would restore excellence in education through greater spending. That would be great if they had a plan other than simply spending more money. Education expenses have grown as long as I can remember yet the U.S. is next to last in literacy proficiency among developed countries and last in math. The U.S. has a high school graduation rate of 87.3% with Oregon coming in last with 76.7%. Democrats favor federal control of education dollars but how has this worked? Trump wants local control. In the recent observation of the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust, less that 50% of Americans new anything about it. Maybe it’s time to look at education in terms of cost effective achievement rather than a place to spend more money.

  • I sent one of my grandsons to a 10-week lineman school. Tuition and tools came to about $10K. Within a week he had a job as an apprentice getting about $80K per year. Why should we bail out college student loans of over $100K for advanced degrees in nonsense? This is what Democrats want to do. Do you?
  • In the recent impeachment trial, a distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, a Democrat that voted for Hillary Clinton and defender of Donald Trump on Constitutional grounds was called a Nazi by a CNN commentator. Alan Dershowitz is a Jew and it is disgraceful that he would ever be referred to as a Nazi. Is this the legacy Democrats want?
  • Oregon’s Democrat governor and the Democrat super majority senate are proposing, again, a carbon tax to reduce green house gases. Oregon’s CO2 emissions are 64 million metric tons. World-wide emissions are 36.8 billion metric tons. If Oregon removed 100% of all CO2 emissions it would reduce world-wide emissions by 0.17%. How much money do Democrats want Oregonians to pay in the form of a carbon tax to make no impact?
  • The enforcement squad of the Democrat party, known as Antifa has been allowed to destroy property and injure people with impunity in Oregon. Kate Brown, Ted Wheeler and the former Portland police chief with the unlikely last name of Outlaw were praised by Democrats for not enforcing the law. Is this another Democrat legacy?
  • In the left-coast, CA, OR and WA major cities are experiencing sever homeless issues, particularly with drug addicts and those that are mentally ill. As best as I can tell these Democrat controlled communities have consistently made the problem worse and proposed solutions that will take away our rights. Like, build a homeless shelter in you back yard. Is this what Democrats want? My old home-town, Eugene, appears to have the largest per capita homeless problem in the country. Makes me sick.
  • Democrats hate Trump and will do anything to get rid of him. The most civilized way to do this is to vote him out of office in November. Which of your potential candidates is going to make America great again? Sanders doesn’t like Republicans or Democrats and has announced that he is going to change our form of government forever. Is that what you want? Want to be a Socialist? Biden doesn’t know where he is and is looking for the next taxpayer funded piggy bank he can direct his family to. Is this your choice? Warren is still looking for the truth and intends to grow our national debt more than anyone. Which Democrat candidate will satisfy your criteria for president? Make sure you cash out your 401K before you vote.