Was it really your choice or were you covertly nudged, anchored, incentivized and manipulated?

Was taking sleeping medication really your choice or the outcome of subtle over the counter advertising even though the research evidence suggests that it will cause long term harm?

Was the evidence presented at the congressional hearing that contributed to Congress to authorize the first Gulf war based upon actual data or manufactured fake news orchestrated by the Kuwait Government?

How come so many people claim that Trump won the election overwhelmingly even though he actually lost the popular vote by 2.8 million?

How come we make impulsive choices which upon reflection did not work out?

Do we really make well informed choices or are they the result of being covertly nudged or manipulated?  Before you vote, before you buy a product, before you undergo a medical procedure or take medication, before you share a Facebook post, or before you talk to your boss, be aware that your choices may not really be yours but instead the result of being influenced and manipulated. From voting to the sales of pharmaceuticals and cars, we act because we feel it is correct; however, in many cases  our choices were not achieved through reason and deliberation.  They were the result of being nudged, anchored, incentivized,  manipulated and influenced by fake/false news-a process that significantly affects how we interact with each other

Before acting on information, read the superb book, The persuaders: The hidden industry that wants to change your mind, by philosopher James Garvey. This book describes in detail the strategies that persuaders use to have you act as they would like you to act which impacts all facets of your life  As the cover of the book states: “You are no longer reasoned with–Instead your opinions and behaviors are manipulated by covert means.”

Debate or out of control slugfest: Follow the rules or pay the price


After the umpteenth interruption and not answering the questions, I hit the OFF button on the television. I can recognize when a speaker interrupts the other speaker or does not answer the questions and only mouths campaign slogans. Did he never learn the simple rules of debate allowing the other person to speak in the allotted time period without interrupting? Did he never study and master critical thinking in college so that he could logically answer a question?   How come the moderator did not implement simple classroom management skills to moderate a discussion?  When debaters do not follow the rules of engagement, we need to treat them as unruly children. The debaters need to learn basic respect for others and understand the difference between facts and fiction (lies). For the next debate adapt the rules which have been implemented in many settings ranging such as scientific meetings, family therapy, Native American gatherings, and Quaker meetings.

  1. No interruptions when a person is speaking for his/her allotted time.
    • Hand the person a “speaking stick” that indicates he/she has the floor and cannot be interrupted.
    • MUTE the mike of the non-speaking candidate.
    • Install a traffic light in front of each candidate: Green O Go– your time to speak, Yellow O Warning-30 seconds time left, Red O Stop– the microphone is turned off.
  2. Interrupt the speaker after one minute of debating if the speaker has not answered the question. The moderator simply states, “You did not answer the question, Please answer it”.
  3. Reward or punish for good or bad behavior.  If the debater interrupts, give an additional minute to the speaking candidate.  If the candidate does not to answer the question after being reminded by the moderator, shut off the microphone and give the remaining time to the other candidate.
  4. Post real time fact checking score by having a panel rate the accuracy of the answers.

By following these simple rules there can be a debate instead of an out of control slugfest.

Make your voice heard! Contact your legislators how they should vote on possible Syrian Intervention.

Optimum health implies living a healthy life style and being an active participant in the community. In the next week, the US will make a decision whether or not to initiate some form of military action in Syria. Whatever the US will or will not do may have significant long term unexpected consequences. Enhance your community health by participating in shaping your legislators’ decision making process. By actively participating and encouraging others to participate, we increase our social connectedness.  In taking action, we become empowered and reduce helplessness which improves immune function.

The Syrian conflict is tragic and the use of chemical weapons horrible; however, how the USA and other countries can resolve this horror is not as clear.  President Obama has stated that he wants to initiate some form of military action (most likely a cruise missile attack) to show that the use weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable.  What is not clear are the consequence of such military intervention.

Personally, I am strongly opposed to military intervention especially when the endgame is not clear.  On the other hand, I strongly support giving add to the millions of refugees.

Congress will decide around September 9th whether to support or not support President Obama’s call for military action (an act of war). Congress’ outcome will be influenced by the views expressed by the public.   Be an active participant and let your voice be heard whether you are for or against military action.

Make your voice heard! Contact the President, Vice-President, your two Senators and your Representative. This decision should not be left to a few people in power. Remember NOT participating is still participating.

Below are the email contacts for the President, Vice President, California Senators and the websites to find your senators or representative.

President Barack Obama http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

Vice-President Joe Biden   http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact-vp

California Senators:

Senator Barbara Boxer http://www.boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/policycomments.cfm

Senator Dianne Feinstein https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me

Websites find your senator or representative:

Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm