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Mindconnection eNL, 2006-11-19

Past issues

In this issue:

  1. Product Highlights
  2. Brainpower tip
  3. Time tip
  4. Finance tip
  1. Security tip
  2. Health tip/Fitness tip
  3. Miscellany
  4. Thought for the day

1. Product Highlights

Communication power at your fingertips
Promoting this product just plain makes me feel good. It's the perfect tool for anyone needing to communicate with Spanish speakers (or anyone in about 3 dozen other languages!).
Translate Spanish with the Ectaco ES800 English-Spanish electronic translator, featuring voice output, speech recognition, sentence translation, and sentence builder.

Over 1,010,000 words and over 14,000 categorized phrases. Convenient flip-open case, color touch screen for enhanced visibility, adjustable color schemes, adjustable font sizes, and physical keyboard.

Designed to PDA interface standards for ease of use. Convert to other languages via inexpensive MMC cards. Most powerful Spanish electronic translator ever and best value in a Spanish translator.

THE unit for communicating with Mexican workers and top pick of employers and travelers. Best device for communicating with Spanish speakers. Accept no substitutes.


See our current offerings of electronic translators.

2. Brainpower tip

Now that the so-called "elections" are over with, any aliens monitoring our broadcasts would probably assume an increase of 100 points has occurred in our collective IQ. There is a very specific reason why I chose that number instead of, say 50. See if you can figure that out as you read the rest of this.

Have you ever wondered why stupidity dominates election messages? The explanation for this bizarre ritual is actually quite simple, and it sheds light on how we can use our brains better in all circumstances.

The human brain (such that it is) provides prima facie evidence of evolution in its very structure. It clearly consists of a collection of brains, one on top of the other. These follow a natural progression that matches the progression of groups of species.

For example, consider the brain of a reptile (e.g., snake, crocodile, politician). It is pretty much just a brain stem--like the one we humans have. As you move up the evolutionary scale, you see more brain structures present. The human brain is not a monolithic organ of single design. It's much like a collection of different models of computers. This makes for some interesting interactions and outcomes.

Politicians have used this fact, knowingly or otherwise, for thousands of years. Instead of providing solutions to important real issues and discussing the facts, they create red herring emotional issues and use those to gain support for their agenda. In case you haven't noticed, the agenda of those running for federal office in the USA is to spend your money without regard to good public policy or even the remotest concept of financial responsibility. This is how they reward the power brokers who put them in office by funding their campaigns. They get by with this because they  use emotion rather than reason to actually brag about what any reasonable analysis would show to be criminal actions.

Consider my own Congressman. He believes that criminals should be protected from citizens, instead of the other way around. Disconnect your brain, and his arguments actually sound good. He also believes that the less money you have the better off you are. So, he devotes much of his time to coming up with ways to part you from your money--the same way any common street thug would. Yet, he makes people actually agree that this is good!

His positions sound insane because they are insane. And, they are about as anti-citizen as you can get. Yet, he consistently get re-elected. Why?

Because he sidesteps reason and goes for emotion. I knew he would win in this election, simply because his campaign used all emotional rhetoric while his opponent used reason.

In fact, despite his horrendous track record, he won this election slightly better than 60/40. Our governor, who has shown a near visceral hostility toward citizens, fared even better!

Our incumbent AG was defeated by false emotional arguments, despite working very hard to protect the citizens and stringing up an impressive record of accomplishments. He lost, 35 to 65.

And despite the constant complaining over our atrociously high taxes, "we" (in my county) voted in yet another pork program that will raise our taxes. Why? Because we are "doing it for the children." Tug a heart string, and it's like pulling on one of those light bulb strings. Only instead of shutting off a light, we shut off the brain. It doesn't matter that this program will, in fact, harm the children in a multitude of ways. What mattered was that its backers (who stand to profit from it) said it will benefit them.

People who are seduced by emotion are blind to the facts.

This fact is why "elections" actually disenfranchise the citizens. People simply refuse to think, thus making the "elections" a farce. While we can't correct this injustice, there is a useful lesson in it for us.

The brainpower tip in this issue is this. Be alert for emotional "arguments." They are the tools of manipulation and deceit. When you give into these arguments, you are thinking at no higher level than a reptile. This is, in effect, a self-imposed frontal lobotomy. And it's one that is easy to fall into. If you doubt that, just think of some arguments you've had with your spouse (or sibling, or....) and think of the dumb and hurtful things each of you said. And how truly pointless those things were. Had you been engaging your higher brain instead of the emotional stem, things would have proceeded much differently.

When you feel a strong emotional response to a message, that's your first indication the message is probably false. If the sender of that message had a factual basis for the message, the sender would not need to resort to emotional methods of convincing you.

None of this is to say that an emotional element in a message makes it wrong. But it does raise red flags. When such a flag goes up, look for substantiation of the claim. During elections, the "proof" is nearly always something taken out of context or not even relevant to the question. Look very hard at any "evidence" given, and try to get both sides of the story. Only then can you make an accurate assessment that makes use of more than just your brain stem.

This is how you can avoid the election time drop of 100 IQ points, and you can enjoy the resultant brain power all year long.

3. Time Tip

4. Finance tip

The two largest taxes you pay are not even called taxes:
  • The federal sales tax (will address that in a future issue, and yes, it's quite real).
  • SS tax.

The official name for the SS tax is "FICA." And officially, it's not a tax--it's a contribution. But a tax is a required payment to the government. This means FICA is, indeed, a tax--despite the lies CONgress trots out to the contrary. If it's not a tax, but is intead a "contribution," then why are we required to pay it? This isn't worth any debate. FICA is a tax, plain and simple.

CONgress also tells you that your employer (if you have one) pays half of this for you. This is patently false. No portion of the SS tax is employer-paid. There is only so much money for a given employment slot. Whether we call that an employer paid tax or a wage, it's all from the same allocation.

If CONgress, for example, mandated that the SS tax were to be 100% "employer paid," then all W-2 employees would see a corresponding drop in wages over time. The money has to come from somewhere. People seem to forget this. CONgress certainly seems oblivious to this fact, which is why we have a nationals sales tax as well (there's a clue that may help you figure that out if you don't know what this is).

CONgressmen, on the other hand, pay lip service to paying SS tax. 100% of their SS tax is paid by the govt. That's because there is no allocation for the wage of a CONgressman (or senator). Unlike private sector wages, CONgressional pay is a "blank check" situation. An employer must compete in the marketplace and control costs. The government is not under any such constraint. So when the gov't "pays half" of the SS tax for a CONgressman, that is actually what happens. Thus, a CONgressman pays half the SS tax a wage earner pays.

But does a CONgressman actually pay any SS tax at all? No. The deduction for this is already calculated into the wage a CONgressman receives. So, the "urban myth" that CONgressmen don't pay SS tax is actually true. It's all in how you follow the money trail. While on the surface it appears they pay this tax, that's just a shellgame of bookkeeping entries.

The "urban myth" is looking at the bookkeeping entries and not the actual money trail, and on that basis it is wrong. This is how CONgress gets past actually following any laws. They do the same thing with the budget. They "reduce spending" by simply reclassifying some expenditures as being "off budget." The same amount of money goes out, but the books show a spending reduction.

What's your finance lesson, here? First, a bit of background. With every paycheck, the 15% of your wages that you could have invested is forcibly extracted from you. If you saved only 10% for retirement, you would--according to many experts--be doing well for yourself. But you are already starting out 15% in the hole. The SS is a pyramid scheme. It counts on new dupes to pay what's owed to previous dupes. But the rate of population expansion and the lifespans of retirees no longer add up to 10 workers for every retiree. I think it's now less than 2:1 and headed for inversion within the next 10 years or so. This system, in short, is not sustainable.

On the other hand, if you had "can't touch it" investments in mutual funds for 40 years using only 10% of your income, you would have a huge nest egg while also having enjoying more current income all those years. The arguments about risk defy logic and conflict with the performance history of mutual funds, so I won't justify those with commentary.

By ceding control of our finances to government bureaucrats and empty emotional promises, we have guaranteed the poverty and starvation of millions of Americans at a point not too distant in the future.

Your lesson is this. The government is not a solution to life's problems. Any time anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But in the case of government, it always is.

5. Security tip

One of the huge advantages of shopping online is the additional security it provides. If you are shopping via your computer at home, there's no way someone in line next to you or behind you can photograph both sides of your credit card with a cell phone. Think about it.

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

7. Miscellany

  1. A galactic year is 250 million Earth-years. This is the time it takes for our solar system to make one revolution around the Milky Way Galaxy. Kind of makes all the bickering in Congress seem petty, huh?
  2. For some amazing photos of our little patch of the universe, see
  3. See: Special Offers (expired link now removed). It has some great offers that are worth following up on.

  4. We don't run ads in our newsletter. We do get inquiries from advertisers, all the time. To keep this eNL coming, go to and do your shopping from there (as appropriate).

  5. Please forward this eNL to others.


8. Thought for the Day

If today is a direct result of yesterday's actions, what will tomorrow look like?


Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


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