ATP Disciplines

Experience, Expertise, and Interests

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ATP Disciplines: Aerospace/Transport

The development of documentation and the provision of high technology services such as product development and quality assurance often benefit from a functional understanding of underlying technology(ies). Applied Technology Products and its principals have strong experience, expertise, training, and or enduring interest in a wide variety of academic disciplines and practical applications, providing an applied math and science foundation upon which accurate, precise, and useful consulting and documentation services can be constructed.

Applied Technology Products has experience in the research, design, and mathematical analysis of aerodynamic systems, general aviation deicing, and advanced vehicle crashworthiness, propulsion, and safety systems.

In addition to existing understanding or expertise, when client needs or internal projects encounter inadequate technical background or scientific facility, ATP principals often pursue interests or expanding new science or technological fields through the development of formal or informal training opportunities and have repeatedly rapidly developed engineering, scientific, or technological skills required on short notice. Even if your project involves technologies or areas not discussed on this website, ATP can rapidly develop and apply the understanding or functional skills needed for the successful completion of your project. Give us a chance to show you what we can do.

For example, when ATP was invited to submit a proposal to the NASA Revolutionary Aeropropulsion Competition, Groff Schroeder arranged for graduate level independent study in aerospace propulsion at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs as a means of improving, evaluating, and objectively verifying his propulsion designs. While the coursework was restricted to a narrow range of science and technology, the received specialized mathematical training (differential equations) and aerospace engineering training (control volumes and their calculation) has been applied to both internal and external projects at ATP.

If you have a problem or project involving ground vehicle crashworthiness or propulsion, aircraft deicing, lift, jet propulsion, ram jet propulsion - or any system through which liquid flows - contact ATP for help with assessing your system, documenting its operation, finding solutions, or achieving completion.

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ATP Disciplines: Applied Math and Science

Perhaps the most important foundation of Applied Technology Products' business model is the application of mathematics and science to address everyday problems, pursue the solution of difficult problems, create documentation of the highest quality, and propose the development of exceptional products. ATP enjoys applying engineering, mathematics, science and technology principles, and can help you apply them to meet your needs.

Why guess about something when it is possible to obtain factual data and verifiable results capable of predicting future behavior?

Although many tend to think of science and math as mysterious passtimes practiced by inscrutable people with rumpled clothing and uncooperative hair, both (math and science not rumpled clothing and uncooperative hair) have very useful applications in everyday life. Businesses use math all the time keeping track of their finances, and many practice informal science when experimenting with new products or services. While individuals and businesses often perform such experiments informally, ATP can help you design and perform scientific analyses of processes, products, and systems that are clear, concise, verifyably scientific - and thus capable of predicting future behaviors of the products, processes, and systems under study.

ATP is interested in projects of almost any size, and can expand its operations to meet almost any need. In addition to smaller projects, ATP enjoys tackling challenging and difficult problems on short timelines, especially when their solution of the problem promises benefits to society. No matter if you seek to find a cost effective way to accomplish minimally invasive excision of 'inoperable' tumors, develop a solar driven process for continuously removing carbon dioxide from the air, or create a 'synthetic' solution to the problems of general aviation noise, icing, and lift enhancement, the ability to accurately, correctly, and precisely apply math and science is essential. ATP has attempted to develop solutions to all of these problems, and ATP principals are constantly working to expand upon their formal and informal training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

One area of special interest is the role of information plays in perception and reality, especially with respect to the intersection of analog and discrete mathematics. If you are interested in this area or currently working on hypotheses or problems related to the role of information in biology, chemistry, justice, journalism, physics, politics, propaganda, or society, please let us know.

Contact ATP for help identifing, understanding and solving your problem - no matter how difficult, how big, or how small.

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ATP Disciplines: Measurement

No matter what you set out to do, measurement is a key component in accomplishing your goal. Whether you need the dimensions of a component to be replaced, the frequency of a sound that must be abated, or to determine the characteristics of a product prototype, the collection and objective analysis of accurate and precise measurements are almost always a critical component of virtually any assessment, process, project, or system.

ATP has experience with a wide variety of instrumentation to perform measurements of many kinds, so ATP can help you identify, obtain, operate - even construct - instrumentation to measure almost anything you can imagine.

The primary principal of Applied Technology Products, Groff Schroeder, has graduate level training in biomedical research instrumentation including electroporation, flow cytometry, and magnetoelectric Kerr Effect instruments, providing a strong understanding of LASER, fluidics, sensor, and data analysis technologies. In addition, in 1998, Groff Schroeder was the guest speaker on nanotechnology at the 'Exploring New Technologies Created by the Growing Intersection Between the Biotechnology, Health Care, Electronics and Telecommunications Industries' KPMG Peat Marwick Seminar held in Boulder Colorado in 1998.

Even as structures on silicon other semiconductor substrates decrease in size, the number and diversity of nanoscale technologies potentially useful in electronics and other fields of medicine, science, and technology increases. ATP has a strong and long-term interest in 'molecular electronics' and the interface between electronics and biology including the construction of electronic components from biological materials.

Contact ATP for assistance with your measurements and biotechnology, nanoscale, or research instrumentation.

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ATP Disciplines: Mechatronics

Just a few years ago, only a very few people had ever heard the term 'mechatronics' even though people had been pricticing it for years. Mechanatronics is the application of computer engineering, control engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software engineering, and systems design engineering principles in the design, development, and or construction of a device to perform a useful task. Perhaps the most widespread arena for the advancement of mechatronics today - and the source of ATP's experience in this area - is the educational and technical arena of the First Robotics Competition found in middle and high schools worldwide.

ATP principal Groff Schroeder has been working with computers and helping users identify, acquire, set up, and configure computer systems since CP/M was an operating system choice, has electronics prototyping experience, and has had numerous experiences with the design, upgrade, and construction of mechatronic systems.

Mr. Schroeder has taken college level courses in computer instrumentation and aerospace engineering, and has participated in projects to construct, upgrade, and verify research instrumentation. Mr. Schroeder also has experience overseeing student mechatronics projects, and has a strong understanding of not only basic mechatronics, but also project management, operation, oversight, and completion.

Contact ATP today to discuss your project.

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ATP Disciplines: Energy/Sustainability

Although environmental problems stemming from unrestrained human population growth continue to grow exponentially every day, societal perceptions that yield economic solutions have not yet recognized the value of intact, unstressed ecosystems. Furthermore, unfettered 'capitalism' and 'deregulation' (making previously illegal acts legal) appear to have further advanced the prioritization of 'winner takes all' economic systems not only over other players, but also the ecosystems upon which we all depend for survival.

Alternative energy devices and sustainable housing and transportation systems are becoming increasingly important in a world challenged by greenhouse gas pollution, dwindling energy supplies, and exponential population growth.

Applied Technology Products has a number of alternative energy devices under development including numerous OEM and retrofittable devices for sustainable energy generation, housing, and transportation, and has suggested many other unique approaches to addressing challenging international problems.

ATP seeks to create solutions capable of preventing the release of pollutants, capturing pollutants for sequestration or remediation, and removed pollutants previously released from the air. While the economic viability of such products are currently in question, as the untoward effects of increasingly obvious negative sequelae of human generated pollutant release becomes more serious, those who have been developing products and services in this area will be better placed to meet the demand.

CO2 Emissions Abatement and Prevention

It appears that the same public relations firms that for decades successfully manufactured doubt about the dangers of smoking are today successfuly manufacturing doubt about the dangers of atmospheric CO2 pollution. However, despite denial, apparently carefully orchestrated public relations, and seemingly well funded marketing plans, market forces are slowly beginning to take hold with regard to the damaging role of excess carbon dioxide in atmospheric systems.

ATP is developing technologies to prevent the release of CO2, remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and convert CO2 into fuels and other useful molecules.

ATP can design or recommend devices to provide reasonably priced sustainable passive and active heating and power for your home, large building, or campus, and can also suggest and assess other approaches (such as conservation and retrofitting) useful in the advancement of alternative energy and sustainable power on your premesis.

Please consider the areas in which ATP is currently working (below) to improve environmental systainability, prevent the release of CO2 into the air, or remove CO2 from the air.

Environmentally positive devices

Passive home solar system retrofit

Active home solar system retrofit

Environmentally neutral housing

Environmentally positive housing

Environmentally neutral vehicles

Environmentally positive vehicles

CO2 retrofits for homes and vehicles

Online resources for CO2 retrofits

In addition, ATP seeks to identify mechanisms through which to convert assets from the waste stream into viable alternative energy products. Municipal waste streams often contain numerous potentially useful materials. Many discarded windows available in bulk such as windows removed from homes can be converted into assets by repurposing them for new uses.

ATP is often able to propose 'synthetic solutions' capable of meeting numerous needs simultaneously. For example, ATP seeks to launch new manufacturing operations that create new jobs, rescue materials from the waste stream, and manufacture alternative energy products such as solar thermal collectors and other devices useful in decreasing energy needs or increasing sustainability.

Please contact us for more information or watch this space for to learn about new developments created by ATP in this area.

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ATP Disciplines: Public Service

ATP's President has written more than 70 'advertorials' on a wide variety of subjects related to advancing the use of reason and defending the separation of church and state. In addition, Mr. Schroeder's experience as the editor of a weekly and monthly column this also means ATP has a great deal of experience with editing 'op-ed' columns. This volunteer work as an opinion and editorial writer and editor means that ATP has useful experience assessing, evaluating, interpreting, and responding to political events, especially with regard to progressive causes and civil and human rights.

ATP is often able to identify apparently overlooked opportunities in complex, governmental, political, and societal systems, and is also usually able to provide workable rationales useful in the communication of the opportunity to cohorts, constituents, and stakeholders.

Groff Schroeder has held elected office in the collegiate setting and has a great deal of experience chairing for-profit and not-for-profit corporate meetings. He has also successful led the transition of a Colorado not-for-profit group to a federal 501c3 not-for-profit tax exempt corporation.

Examples of overlooked opportunities appear below.

The Benefits of Taxation

ATP understands the foundational role that taxes play in economies, is proud to pay taxes, and hopes to earn enough soon to pay significant local, state, and federal taxes. ATP encourages readers to evaluate the historic relationship between higher taxes and healthy economies (such as during the late 1990's) and decreased taxes and unhealthy economies (such as during the middle to late 2000's). Two important examples include the Clinton Admistration's tax increases and its achievement of government surpluses, and the George W. Bush Adminstration's $1.3 Trillion tax cut and the massive economic downturn of 2008. Although it is unpopular to advocate for tax increases (even progressives often appear to attempt to avoid it at all costs), objective observers of economic systems often come to the conclusion that healthy taxation (which funds government spending) is essential to healthy economies.

Easily accessible (but rarely communicated) objective information about the relationship between healthy economies and healthy taxation often indicates that sustainable tax rates lead to economic conditions that benefit not only the poor and middle class, but also the rich.

Furthermore, in addition to an apparent historical role in bouying economies, strong taxation and concomitant government spending appears to provide a parallel benefits in the form of a maintained and constantly improving infrastructure, functioning educations systems, grant based research advancements, and significant public works.

The Appearance Of - and Opportunity For - Bribery, Prohibition, and More

If you ask anyone making a "campaign donation" to an elected "representative" whether they expect their donation to change the way the representative votes,only professional lobbiests and others trained not to say such things will say "no." If one person provides someting of value (such as money) to another as a means of influencing the first person's business decision, most everyone would consider it a bribe and strongly oppose it. Why do we tolerate it in our alleged democratic republic?

ATP opposes 'campaign donations' as a form legalized bribery that is the antithesis of the very foundation of the democratic republic and recognizes prohibition against drug use as an impossible task that creates a tax-free underground economy in which otherwise virtually worthless weeds and substances become incredibly valuable products marketed by historically violent private armies. Furthermore, the vast accumulations of cash black markets engender are easily applied to "campaign donations" and other non-democratic activities.

Ironically, unlike virtually every other problem facing the People of the United States, the negative aspects of prohibition and widespread corruption in government are (or at least appear) only indirectly linked. In contrast, demands for 'deregulation' (legalizing previously illegal behaviors), further tax cuts for the extremely wealthy (who already pay less than the middle class in many cases), and increased 'corporate welfare' (direct taxpayer support of for-profit business) to corporate 'citizens' (corporations and organizations who reap the benefits of citizenship without exposure to the responsibilities and consequences actual human beings face) do appear inextricably linked to the naked bribery that appears to found America's 21st century electoral system.

ATP enjoys assessing, dissecting, evaluating, and documenting complex systems in any context, and political systems can be especially complex and interesting. If you need deep, thorough, wide spectrum assessments of engineering, political, scientific, or technological systems, ATP can provide rapid and high quality services sure to please even the most demanding client.

Please contact ATP for more information about ATP's public service activities, opportunities, and services.

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OpEd Editor/Writer

ATP's President, Groff Schroeder, has written more than 75 articles that have appeared in the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs 'Freethought Views' column in the Colorado Springs Independent. Mr. Schroeder joined the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs as a personal response to the attacks of September 11, 2011, after an article he wrote was published in the Freethought Views column as the organization's response to the attacks.

In addition to being a member of the board of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs since 2006, Mr. Schroeder has been editing the 'advertorial' column since the summer of 2010. Unfortunately, it is difficult (but not impossible) to read Freethought Views columns in their original contexts online due to the column's position as an advertisement rather than being a regular contributed opinion/editorial feature (which means they are not indexed or included in web search terms).

Several selected articles written by Groff Schroeder that have appeared in the Freethought Views column appear below. Many other articles written by Mr. Schroeder that have appeared in Freethought Views can be accessed by visiting www.freethinkerscs.com and searching on the keyword "groff."

But Wait! There's More! - © 2001

by Groff Schroeder

No matter what you think about the existence of god or the possibility thereof, you have to admit that the folks who make their living from religion have a good product. What is the old saying? If something appears too good to be true -- perhaps it is?

Think of it. Donuts, coffee, a reason to get dressed up, instant friends, eternal life, repeated forgiveness for even the most horrific crimes; all for a small weekly cash payment.

Coffee contains caffeine, a strong and potentially lethal stimulant that is perfectly legal. While you are drinking it you can agree with all your new friends about the dangers of drug use. But if you are a Native American you can forget about those ancient peyote ceremonies from the dawn of time: God frowns on drug use. Some observers of religion have called religion itself an opiate.

Donuts are often rich in saturated fats, which can lead to coronary artery disease, but that is not a problem because with God, you can live forever. Wow! It could happen. And hanging out in a place where the streets are paved with gold? Talk about priceless. There's probably a waiting list to get on the street-cleaning staff in heaven. Maybe God takes care of that himself, to prevent back injuries.

But wait, there's more! How much would you pay for complete forgiveness of even the most heinous of crimes? Fifty dollars? One hundred? A thousand dollars or more? If you join our weekly payment plan now you can have all this, for just ten percent of your annual income. Yes, even serial murder can be forgiven in an instant, by simply believing.

Think of it. The shoplifting when you were 14. The drug dealing into your 30's. Beating your first wife senseless. That 'accident' that happened to your heavily insured business partner. The tipsy little hit and run after the campaign victory party. The campaign. Forgiven. Wiped clean. Forever!

You pay more than that in taxes -- and all you get is personal freedom, emergency services, food safety, roads, defense, unemployment insurance (of course you would never take it even if you needed it), scientific research, a space program (oops -- wrong product).

But wait, there's more! Under our religious plan you not only get forgiven once -- but every week. No more pesky guilt about shortchanging those customers. Forget the petty oppression of culpability forever. Join now.

Other religions don't have their facts straight. With us, you are guaranteed special consideration at the pearly gates. All you need is faith.

Imagine surrendering your cares to a world in which everything bad that happens is 'evil' at work, releasing you from painful and sometimes embarrassing personal responsibility. And when you leave everything up to God in prayer, you don't have to actually lift a finger to make 'good' things happen.

But wait, there's more! If you join this self-anointed circle of blind faith, you also get a personal relationship with the Big Man himself -- an all-seeing, all-powerful, miraculous being who is ready, willing and able to alter the space time continuum for the entire universe to meet your smallest whim. If you join our weekly payment plan today. Don't delay. Call now!

Got Science? - © 2002

by Groff Schroeder

Faith makes determining truth easy. In most religions, truth is what the [insert religious text name here] says. If the [insert religious text name here] says it is true, then it is true, no matter what. Religious leaders can also define truth, even when it is not actually spelled out in the [insert religious text name here]. While the truths identified by these sources are often in conflict, they are usually considered to be absolute by the faithful.

In contrast, finding truth with science is hard, perhaps even impossible. Science is often minimally described as an iterative method of discovery involving the performance of research, creation of a hypothesis, testing of the hypothesis with observation or experiment and publishing the results for others to research. Generally, science is a multifaceted international cooperative process that shares and tests observations, hypotheses and experiments through competitive validation.

Research often includes analyzing scientific journals that describe work that has been performed and includes the raw findings (data) and mathematical analyses of experiments or observations. Once the scientist has learned about existing ideas and the work of others, they may perform more observations or form a new hypothesis. A hypothesis is a formalized educated guess which can be tested by an experiment.

An experiment is a formal test of a hypothesis in which observation results in the collection of data that is carefully documented for later publication. Once the observations are complete, the scientist draws conclusions based on the data, writes a formalized paper describing the work and submits the work for publication. After peer review, in which other scholars in the field review the work for errors, the article may be published in a scientific journal. Other scientists read the publication, recreate controversial experiments or observations, validate or question the data and conclusions drawn by the original scientist, and once again publish their work. Hypotheses are often modified during this process.

Over time, repeatedly validated hypotheses emerge. When a hypothesis has been validated for a long time, perhaps 100 years or more for observation based science, the hypothesis is considered to be a theory. When the theory is supported by even more repeatedly validated observations and experiments, the hypothesis becomes a scientific law. The laws of gravity, conservation of energy, and conservation of mass are examples.

While all of our technology is built upon these laws, which are about as close to scientific truth as is possible, even they can be questioned at any time by new data that appears to challenge their validity. Natural selection may be 'only' a theory, but since before the Civil War, countless observations and experiments have supported it in virtually every branch of the life sciences.

As with religion, the meaning of science depends on the point of view of the observer and how they choose to interpret the evidence it provides. Science resulting in medical 'miracles' or electronic gadgets is much easier to accept than science that suggests a continuously growing mega-population of internal combustion engines belching heat-trapping pollutants at 1400 Fahrenheit are an imminent threat to the stability of our finite ecosystem.

Some claim that science is actually faith, but this denies the inquiring competitive foundations of science. Faith is unquestioning belief that ignores inconvenient evidence. In contrast, science is always open to question and actively seeks new evidence to test, validate and improve itself.

Triumph of Reason: Logic - © 2003

by Groff Schroeder

Logic. To many, logic is an inscrutable math term bandied about on Star Trek by a pointy-eared alien named Spock. But logic is more than a science fiction buzzword; it is a simple and ancient mathematical tool with important ramifications in every day life.

Some 2350 years ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle published the first works describing logic. Logic helps people to analyze the validity of complex ideas in spoken or written language. Aristotle's work on logic in conjunction with Euclid's Elements forms the foundation of modern mathematics. Syllogistic logic allows the observer to determine when linked statements (syllogisms) are true, false or fallacious. At its most basic level, logic is little more than the skeptical application of common sense. Logic is also described as deduction, or reasoning from the general to the specific.

We can use logic to analyze these statements: the sky is blue; the sky is made of air, so air is blue. We can evaluate the statements individually or together; and we can think of them as being true or false.

The sky is blue, yes that is true - except at night. The sky is made out of air? Yes, true - as long as you ignore the sky's vast background of space and lump the numerous gasses in the atmosphere together and call it air. So air is blue. Right?

First let's just ignore certain facts and assume the sky is blue. Using this assumption, the first statement is true. But just because the first statement is true does not mean that the second or third statements are true. Each of these statements can be true or false and the third statement, which uses the word so (it could also use the words then or therefore) may be true even if both previous statements are false. When all the statements are true, the deduction is valid.

The deduction that air is blue is only appears to be valid because you ignore inconvenient facts that falsify the first two statements.

If you listen carefully, you can often discover invalid logic and fallacious deductions fueling the statements of politicians and the news media. Some of these statements are so illogical it is astounding. For example, many politicians and journalists insist (despite the widely ignored protestations of no less than ten US Nobel Laureates in Economics) that if we cut dividend tax revenue we will obtain more income for the nation. Most with credit card debt would reject as ridiculous the idea of cutting their income as a solution to their unbalanced budget. Why then do so many people believe and vigorously support openly corrupt politicians and journalists who advocate it?

While fallacious statements based upon assumptions and invalid deductions are often a part of politics and journalism, many people appear to be unaware of the basics of logic and the corrosive effect lack of information has upon correct reasoning. Others often appear to fervently believe what they are told rather than recognize undeniable facts in glaring conflict with the point of view accepted by their social circle.

Just because someone tells us something is true does not mean that it is true. Simple skepticism, increasing access to information and the ancient tool of logic can help us to identify the facts.

Live long and prosper.

Triumph of Reason: Space Travel - © 2004

by Groff Schroeder

On February 15, the rockets of an invading army rained fire and brimstone on the city of Baghdad, helping to seal its fall. The year was 1258. For at least 200 years before that, black powder rockets were integral to Chinese military operations. When Baghdad fell in the year 2003, rockets helped to write yet another destructive chapter in the 1000-year history of rocket science.

Countless experiments show that rocket engines develop thrust as the closed end of a tube directs rapidly expanding exothermic chemical combustion products out the open end of the tube. When the superheated gasses pass through a narrowed region called the nozzle, the Bernoulli Effect can increase their speed to supersonic velocities. Rockets move because of the reaction principle, a specific case of Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion from his brilliant 1687 book, The Principia. Most people learned this law in public school as 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.' Unlike jet engines in which a burning fuel drives a turbine that turns a fan and accelerates air, rockets can provide thrust above the atmosphere and can achieve and leave earth’s orbit.

On October 3, 1942, a machine made by humans first entered space. The vehicle was an A-4 liquid fuel rocket created by German physicist Werner von Braun. The German military funded von Braun’s experiments, and Adolph Hitler called the rocket the vengeance weapon two or V-2. While von Braun recognized the rocket’s capability for space exploration, Hitler’s vision for the rocket, like countless combatants before him, revolved around their ability to kill and destroy. During the next two years, about 2,900 more rockets would pass through space, each delivering a 1000-kilogram (one ton) payload of high explosives to the cities of England, Belgium and France upon their return to earth.

As with faith, reason and morality are not inextricably linked. Just as religious fervor can rationalize things forbidden by religious teachings such as the industrialized murder of war, experiment, science and engineering can yield horrific weapons and torture devices just as easily as they can cure disease or provide cool electronic gadgets.

As the development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles in the early 1960s relentlessly thawed the world’s 'Cold War,' United States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy offered the world an alternative. Kennedy proposed that the international race to build rockets to rain nuclear bombs on people living on the surface of the earth instead become an international race to build rockets to deliver people to the surface of the moon. Sadly, Kennedy saw only the earliest fruits of this new paradigm for rocket science and international rivalry. However, his vision of peaceful uses for rockets opened the door to space exploration, revealing the stunning beauty of the universe and providing our nation with great scientific knowledge and spectacular engineering accomplishments, most recently demonstrating the existence of water on the planet Mars with twin robotic rovers.

In the 1000 years since its invention, the rocket has propelled probably millions of explosive payloads designed to kill, maim and destroy. In a much smaller number of flights, humans have employed rocket payloads to learn about and explore the vast and dangerous universe surrounding our fragile planet. Like so much of our technology, rockets have the power to destroy or create. Rockets can deliver enlightenment or destruction, but only science can deliver rockets.

'Just' War? - © 2005

by Groff Schroeder

Countless memorials to those who died in wars pepper our planet. World War I in the last century (sometimes labeled 'the century of war') was called 'The War to End All Wars.' The Second World War was a horrific disaster in which more than 50 million people died. Yet the 'hot' wars continued (Korea, Vietnam, both tragedies for all involved) as well as an ominous 'cold war' in which numerous nations squandered billions to maintain thousands of intercontinental ballistic missiles and to aim high- yield hydrogen bombs at cities teeming with civilians. Many of those missiles are still in place today, idling in silos. Despite this extensive history of waste, murder, destruction and woe, the allegedly most intellectually and morally advanced nation on the planet wages a new war - a 'war on terror.'

War generates terror, so a 'war on terror' is a feedback loop generating more war and more terror.

Virtually every belief system on earth considers the killing of other human beings immoral. Still, rationalizations to placate these moral prohibitions and the sensitivities of those who truly hold these beliefs (versus those who hold them only when convenient) are common. Such rationalizations for murder spurred seven 'Crusades' between 1095 and 1291, in which various Catholic Popes waged unspeakable wars on the followers of Islam, a religion whose religious text, the Qur'an, shares large common sections with Judaism's Torah and Christianity's Bible. These monotheistic religions share a common belief in a single common deity, yet they have been at war for generations. Many today see America's attack on Iraq as just another crusade, a word President Bush employed in a speech on September 16, 2001 to describe the already unfolding military attack upon Afghanistan.

The need to rationalize the industrial murder that is war led to the concept of 'just war' (talk about an oxymoron!). The idea of just war found precepts of international law based upon modern, primarily Christian, interpretations of the work of Renaissance theologian Francisco de Vitoria. This Dominican cleric attempted to define moral behavior in war. The precepts of just war revolve around three general ideas, Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum, literally Law to War, Law in War and Law after War.

The concept of 'Law to War' governs the morality to starting wars: legitimate authority, spurred by a just cause, must employ right intention while applying proportional force to achieve comparative justice with a high probability of success, but only as a last resort.

The concept of 'Law in War' focuses upon morality during war and prohibits military conscription, torture, attacks upon civilians and journalists and the use of overwhelming force, except as a means to reduce harm.

Finally, the concept of 'Law after War' regulates the termination of wars and demands that victorious legitimate authorities employ right intention in negotiations with surrendering legitimate authorities to terminate wars after a reasonable vindication of the cause, that the victors initiate war crimes trials (for both sides), and that victors discriminate between political, military and civilian participants. Punitive measures are limited to individuals in direct participation in the war, and revenge is not permitted.

War stems from the idea that you can get other people to do what you want by killing their family and friends. The idea that this can be done with fairness, honor and morality founds the concept of 'just' war.

If Abortion Becomes a Crime - © 2006

by Groff Schroeder

It is hard to think of anything more deserving of privacy than the human reproductive process. Intimate, beautiful, rewarding, personal and sometimes tragic, human sex and reproduction are among the few places where the government has yet to insert its sticky fingers. Still, a small but historically violent group of what appear to be religious fundamentalists demand that the government codify their religious beliefs by regulating the reproductive processes of the People of the United States.

Perhaps the most detailed analysis of the abortion question was performed by Carl Sagan and his wife, Ann Druyan, and can be accessed at http://www.2think.org/abortion.shtml. While the abortion debate often involves religious and scientific interpretations such as the point at which 'life begins,' the day-to-day legal aspects of life in a society in which certain reproductive acts are criminal are rarely considered. There are many infamous historical examples where governments have taken control of the reproduction of its citizens through the criminalization of abortion, such as the brutal Ceaucescu regime in Romania that outlawed any and all forms of abortion and birth control, and the racially selective ban in Nazi Germany.

In the United States the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, creates a number of important civil rights that help to protect the accused from the government. In the context of the abortion debate and possible enforcement of anti-abortion laws, it is important to understand just what police powers would be required to enforce the criminalization of abortion.

If abortion becomes a crime, the government will be required and empowered to search for evidence to prosecute the accused. If a woman is seen in the company of a suspected abortionist, this is not proof that an abortion occurred. The only place where that evidence can be found is within the human uterus. Therefore, the only way that the police can collect evidence useful in the prosecution of alleged abortion crimes is through direct visualization of the uterine wall. This suggests the police, or their agents, will have to perform a gynecological exam on the accused in order to gather photographic evidence regarding innocence or guilt.

What level of evidence will be required for a grand jury to issue a warrant to search the human uterus? Will the accused have to have visited a known abortionist? Suddenly be no longer pregnant after a positive workplace pregnancy test? Or is the anonymous complaint of that cranky elderly lady across the street enough?

Who will perform these searches? If physicians have to search the uterus, the costs to law enforcement could be staggering. So police officers perhaps, with a special van, a speculum and a warrant.

There are many types of abortions and many misconceptions about abortion. But history does tell us this: abortion always exists no matter what its legal status. This is due in part to the fact that a woman can perform the procedure by herself in the privacy of her own home, albeit unsafely. Even if the government places cameras in every bathroom and bedroom in America, abortions will continue.

The question is not which interpretation of the beginning of life we want to enforce as law. The question is how much power do we want to give the government over the most private parts of our bodies and the most intimate aspects of our lives.

Health Care: Human Right or Profit Center - © 2007

by Groff Schroeder

In 1948, the Charter Members of the United Nations adopted the legally binding United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was not legally binding, it initiated a series of treaties defining an international standard for human rights. Article 25 addresses medical care specifically.

'Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.' [1]

In 1976, Article 12 of the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights extended the concept of medical care as a human right to include mental health care and, 'The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.' [2] The covenant's comment on implementation states, 'Health is a fundamental human right indispensable for the exercise of other human rights.' [3] The United States is a signatory of this covenant, and until just recently, was the world's undisputed champion of human and civil rights.

Virtually every developed nation successfully and economically provides this human right with not-for-profit 'single payer' systems, in which the government pays the People's medical bills with tax revenues. Paralleling the 'third world' medical care's nonexistent, inconsistent or unequal access due to lack of personnel and technology, America's schizophrenic not-for-profit (Medicare) and for-profit (insurance based) paradigm generates unequal access and substandard quality. Despite record health care expenditures, American morbidity and mortality statistics are among the poorest in the world.

Medical care is a basic human need and 'Do no harm' is a founding medical ethic. Minimizing access to medical treatments clearly harms patients, especially in the context of profit. Another key medical ethic is informed consent. Americans are rarely informed of, or consent to, the profit stemming from the pain and suffering experienced due to treated and or untreated illness or injury. Furthermore, growing health insurance premiums lead to growing numbers of uninsured workers [4] and children, [5] ; medical bills, whether uninsured or insured, are America's leading cause of bankruptcy. [6]

Enterprises profiting from health care hold significant conflicts of interest. Insurers frequently reject applicants likely to need medical care, and deaths of insured clients benefit insurers, who rarely participate personally in the sometimes messy process. It appears the best way to profit from health care is to deny it. Since the denial of medical care maximizes profits, for-profit health care systems promote, if not constitute, a market in human suffering.

In addition to significant expenses stemming from profit itself, for-profit medicine generates competition, duplication of services and administrative and marketing costs. Even brilliant advertising rarely induces illness, injury, or the rejection of insurer reimbursement guidelines.

America's for-profit medical system fails to provide quality medical care for all and prioritizes corporate profits over basic human needs. This violates medical ethics, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights and other international treaties designed to define and ensure basic human rights.

Extending Medicare coverage to all, boosting caregiver reimbursement rates and retraining health insurance workers as health care providers could solve these problems, restore our human rights and end America's for-profit medical nightmare.

Abuse of Reason: Propaganda - © 2007

by Groff Schroeder

Before 1939, the brutal war enthralling Europe between July 28, 1914 and November 11, 1918 was not called World War I. 'The Great War,' 'The War to End all Wars' and 'The War to Make the World Safe for Democracy' for the first time employed modern technologies including airplanes, tanks, chemical weapons and submarines, killing more than 7,000,000 and wounding more than 21,000,000 worldwide.

Trench warfare near the border of Germany and France yielded almost unimaginable casualties (sometimes thousands dead in a single day without an inch of progress), and we still use idioms from this war, including 'over the top,' 'business as usual' and 'last ditch.' Excluding the missing, more than 1,500,000 dead and more than 4,000,000 wounded soldiers purchased Germany's defeat. No records of German civilian casualties exist. The chemical weapons employed in the war were so ghastly that a new Geneva Convention defined their use as a war crime.

Despite this gruesome history of carnage and defeat, just 20 odd years later a former soldier named Adolph Hitler led the highly educated and egalitarian people of Germany into an even more disastrous Second World War.

How? Many would cite the humiliating Treaty of Versailles and the worldwide depression that characterized the 1930s as reasons for the Germans' gullibility. However, despite previous imprisonment for an attempted military coup, Adolph Hitler and his cronies rose to power by methodically manipulating, and ultimately controlling virtually all of the information the German People received.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote, 'Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched form of life as paradise.' Propaganda tools such as the broken record (relentlessly repeating something until it becomes common 'knowledge'), ad hominem attacks (kill the messenger) and false dilemmas (i.e., portraying proposed solutions as worse than the problem) are not necessarily dishonest. However, propaganda's most effective forms, the big lie (the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed), half truths (i.e. lies by omission) and fallacies of logic, often are dishonest.

Propaganda is a general term describing communication meant to persuade. In late 1930s Germany, Nazi Riechsminister for Propaganda and National Enlightenment Hermann Goebbels literally elevated political propaganda to an art. Cynically applying advancements in marketing and public relations, the Nazi propaganda machine created celebrated films and apparently staged shocking events like the Fire in the Reichstag. Instead of selling shoes, propaganda systematically deceived and controlled the German People.

Buttressed with peer pressure, nationalism, intimidation, imprisonment, torture and assassination, Goebbels' comprehensive propaganda co-opted and manipulated virtually every form of communication in Germany, keeping the German People terrified, confused, misinformed and above all obedient in the face of incrementally increasing criminality in their alleged democracy. Eventually, countless German citizens rationalized, accepted and even participated in horrific war crimes, including the enslavement, starvation and execution of millions of innocent men, women and children.

Like fascism, propaganda did not die with the Third Reich, and both can thrive quite successfully behind a patina of respectability. Perhaps the only defense against propaganda is gathering as much information from as many sources and points of view as possible, then applying critical thinking in its analysis. If 1930s Germany is any example, unquestioningly believing what you are told is a recipe for disaster.

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Little White Lies - © 2008

by Groff Schroeder

Many use deception daily, often for personal benefit. They might tell their boss that her trendy outfit 'looks great' - though they think it ridiculous. Confronted about a discriminatory joke they might say, 'one of my best friends is [insert stereotyped group here],' when a correct response would be, 'a person at work is [insert stereotyped group here] and we sometimes say hi.' If you believe and repeat a falsehood – is it still a lie? Upton Sinclair wrote, 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.'

We call these 'little white lies,' but are they not still lies? Those abhorring dishonesty and misdirection often find maintaining personal integrity in a society routinely practicing 'polite' or 'convenient' deception challenging. Not participating in the 'little' deceptions of daily life can be difficult, isolating and damaging, especially at work.

Many rationalize larger deceptions. Some might say, 'Traffic made me late to work' instead of 'I stayed out and slept late.' Both drivers in a crash at an intersection might claim - and even believe - they had the green light. Unless the light malfunctioned, only one of them can be truthful. The driver who accelerated into the yellow light profits from believing the light was 'green,' while lying harms the driver whose light was green.

Parents all over the world deceive children about assorted magical beings associated with various holidays. Although religious systems often forbid the telling of lies, some appear to tolerate and even celebrate institutionalized deceptions regarding the most basic tenets of their faith, such as the birth date of their most important figures.

False analogies, like comparing abortion to the holocaust, posit compelling, but misleading arguments. Those practicing abortion are usually women or couples controlling their most personal bodily functions; terminating the expression of their DNA, embryo or fetus in consultation with a physician, often reluctantly and under extreme financial, medical and or personal duress. In the holocaust, a belligerent military dictator employed propaganda (systematic political dishonesty) and commanded brainwashed soldiers (under penalty of death) to summarily execute people of all ages from targeted racial (and other) groups.

Omitting information can also deceive. Few stories about New York Governor Elliot Spitzer’s prostitute mentioned Spitzer’s prosecution of the 'outing' of CIA agent Valerie Plame – or the alleged gay prostitute posing as a journalist who apparently repeatedly spent the night in 'W’s' 'conservative' White House.

Some accept certain deceptions while rejecting others. Many demanded the impeachment of one president for lying about rather private matters in civil court. It appears the following president repeatedly and knowingly lied about Iraq’s involvement in 9-11 and weapons of mass destruction, initiating an apparently illegal and unjust war. How can the same pundits, politicians, reporters and citizens who demanded impeachment over rhetorical sleight of hand in a lawsuit exposing consensual sex accept more malevolent lies (previously publicly disproved by Valerie Plame’s husband) in the Presidential State of the Union Address resulting in the deaths of countless soldiers and civilians?

When do little white lies become big black lies? What separates 'harmless' deceptions from those producing or protecting dire societal consequences such as bribery, corruption, fraud, totalitarianism and war? Can lies ever serve the 'greater good?'

If you cannot lie to yourself, to whom can you lie?

Details, details... - © 2009

by Groff Schroeder

Pregnancy is perhaps the most personal and private human bodily function imaginable. Conception occurs after ovulation when a sperm and an egg fuse in the fallopian tube forming a zygote, which divides into16 cells, becoming a morula. About four days after fertilization, a central cavity develops in the growing mass of cells, forming a blastocyst. Five or six days after ovulation, the blastocyst implants in the wall of the uterus becoming an embryo. Incorrect implantation in a woman’s fallopian tube, cervix or abdomen (ectopic pregnancy) usually induces life-threatening hemorrhage. Only emergency abortion can save her life.

After implantation, amazing microscopic, genetic, biochemical and biophysical events occur as the embryo undergoes gastrulation, forming three tissue layers called endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm. The endoderm eventually forms digestive tract and the linings of the lungs, tonsils and bladder. The mesoderm gives rise to muscles, bones, lymphatic and excretory tissues. The ectoderm yields the skin, hair, nails and nervous system.

About 21 days after ovulation, two tubes of mesoderm form and later fuse into an S shape that contracts rhythmically. By day 29, the brain differentiates into three parts, the heart has valves and limb buds are forming. For the next two months, every part of the embryo undergoes rapid genetic and location-directed cell division. By week 7, the heart has four chambers, intestines begin development and brain waves begin. Heart development ends at about 9 weeks, and the brain can move muscles. The embryonic phase of development (and the first trimester) ends at 12 weeks. The embryo becomes a fetus.

At 16 weeks, the circulatory system is complete and the 24th week marks the end of the second trimester. At 30 weeks, rapid brain growth begins, and the rate of formation of interconnections between individual nerve cells increases. At 40 weeks, the fetus is 'full term' and the development of the nervous system (and the third trimester) is complete. At birth, fetal passage through the birth canal interrupts blood flow from the umbilical cord and initiates the newborn’s heart and circulatory system function. Soon, the newborn becomes an infant, baby, toddler, child, adolescent, teenager and eventually, an adult.

While amazing, complex and beautiful, pregnancy can be deadly. Accidents, diabetes, hypertension, gunshot wounds, malnutrition, vehicle crashes and numerous medical conditions of pregnancy often make abortion a life-saving necessity for pregnant women. If medical emergencies happen late in pregnancy, viable fetuses (~5 months) can survive – even if the mother dies - although the earlier the premature birth the more severe the related medical and developmental problems. Before viability, maternal death due to injury, illness, pregnancy or any other reason kills the embryo or fetus too.

Whether legal or illegal, abortion always exists and some women choose abortion as a means of birth control, especially in cases of rape, incest and extreme familial, financial, medical, social or psychological duress. Unless physicians commit crimes, when abortion is illegal women facing pre-viability medical or obstetric emergencies will lose their lives – ostensibly to save the life of an embryo or fetus unable to survive without the mother. Prohibition leads to 'black market' and self-induced abortions, both historically deadly to women. Ironically, more than 50% of abortions are spontaneous (miscarriage).

Science suggests the most effective way to prevent abortion is to prevent unwanted pregnancies by improving access to birth control information, devices and pharmaceuticals. Once pregnancy occurs, parents (especially pregnant women) and their physicians must have the freedom to address the complexities of each case individually, including the ability to terminate pregnancies as a means of protecting the life and health of the mother. Although current law appears to meet these goals by allowing wide access to medical and first trimester abortions and limiting those in the third trimester, significant opposition remains to not only all abortions, but also the birth control so successful in preventing them.

Apparently indifferent to personal and religious freedoms, numerous life-saving aspects of abortion, the epidemic of hunger[1] among America’s 'born' children and unable to overcome America’s Solomon-like abortion laws and strong Constitutional, practical, medical, legal and societal support for privacy and reproductive freedom; it seems at least some abortion opponents turned to political violence. Sadly, it appears that terrorism including arson (175), attempted murders (17), assassinations (3), bombings (41), clinic blockades (763), harassment (>100), murders (5), stalking (525) and vandalism (~1400)[2] has already achieved almost everything America’s 'non-violent' 'Pro-Life' movement seeks since '87% of US counties lack an abortion provider.'[3] Paradoxically, this decreases access to birth control, increasing the number of unintended pregnancies and thus abortions. How convenient.

Everyone wants to decrease the number of abortions – except perhaps those benefiting from abortion or using abortion to divide America against herself. A powerful church dominated by 'celibate' males and plagued by child sex abuse scandals appears to lead this attack upon religious and reproductive freedom, repeatedly and forcibly introducing themselves into other people’s sex lives and demanding that everyone obey their sexual mandates. Although unable to limit access to birth control and abortion through ethical and legal means, their leaders cite 'great strides' toward their goals – and appear to downplay (not condemn) the role that terrorist acts such as arson, bombings, intimidation and most recently assassination, so obviously play in their achievement.

It appears that Dick Cheney is not alone in his discovery of the power of the 'dark side,' where 'plausible deniability' and immoral means lead to the realization of unlawful goals.

War Precludes Security - © 2010

by Groff Schroeder

War makes it legal to kill people on the industrial scale. Success is uncertain, and killing both 'combatants' (formerly soldiers) and 'non-combatants' (formerly civilians) is acceptable - under certain circumstances. International law(1) and ethical ideals forbid 'pre-emptive' war against people who might attack in the future – but allows people under attack to defend themselves with defensive and aggressive deadly force. Therefore, pre-emptive war appears to facilitate, if not guarantee, the outcome it supposedly prevents.

Even if your cause is just and your contribution small, the violent death or maiming of each child, mother, father, brother, sister or friend increases the probability that one or more survivors will develop the lifelong desire to kill or maim you, your child, mother, father, brother, sister or friend – perhaps even 'all of the above.' The victimization of children and the obliteration of families appear especially likely to create the desire for vengeance at any cost. It appears that war fuels a positive feedback loop of violence by fostering hatred, misunderstanding, murder, terror, vengeance and a need for retribution. Those who profit from war rarely appear to participate in its more violent aspects – other than supplying the implements.

War is cruel, expensive, irrational and unfair, often creating significant morbidity and mortality among combatants and civilians alike. Abstract concepts such as borders, honor, nationalism, and loyalty coupled with attempts to 'ensure that no one has died in vain' often guarantee that wars continue to kill long after the outcome is inevitable. Ironically, although war requires that participants surrender prohibitions against killing, taking by force and other moral ideals, religious beliefs often play crucial roles in the cause, furtherance, justification and rationalization of war. While 'just' wars winning human freedom are not unprecedented, criminal war (to obtain strategic resources) and profligate war (such as the Korean War), appear more common.

Although advocates cite technological advancements as positive outcomes, war usually prompts the development and use of the most destructive, horrendous and terrifying technologies imaginable, and the development of environmentally sound or socially beneficial technologies usually appear only incidentally. Armed conflict usually creates anarchistic 'war zones,' devoid of neutral law enforcement and conducive to most any immoral or unethical act imaginable. Furthermore, the urgency and secrecy of war conceals not only tactics and strategy, but also potential corruption, incompetence, profiteering and duplicity. Dwight D. Eisenhower recognized war’s unique contribution to society, 'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.'(2)

War seeks to provide security through the desperate, intentional and wholesale demolition of human beings, environments and infrastructure, even though history suggests that only assistance, cooperation, friendship, mutual respect and trust can win peace and security. In the process, war destroys not only people and their security, but also due process of law, civil rights, human freedom and social infrastructure.

Pre-emptive war is a failed military strategy previously employed by some of the most infamous criminal regimes in world history. Until We the People forbid it, we will continue to suffer from its negative effects on human beings and experience severe threats to civil liberties, human rights and economic, personal and national security.

Who Do You Trust?- © 2011

by Groff Schroeder

Between 1630 and 1643, 'Puritans' seeking religious freedom emigrated to America. Despite experiencing religious repression in Britain, the Puritan's Massachusetts Bay Colony punished citizens like Roger Williams for advocating religious tolerance. Williams founded Rhode Island upon religious freedom and the separation of church and state in 1636, and in 1644, wrote against '...enforced uniformity of religion.' Between 1650 and 1700, the Massachusetts Bay Colony expelled or executed numerous Quakers, Catholics, 'witches,' and others for religious violations.

Although religious animus cooled, economic tensions flared in the 1700s. The East India Company was going broke selling tea to Americans who preferred tea smuggled from Holland. When the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773 eliminated taxes on the East India Company but continued the 'taxation without representation' Americans abhorred, a boycott – then a Revolutionary War, followed.

July 4, 1776's, Declaration of Independence required the creation of 'The Great Seal of the United States' for official correspondence. The Great Seal and its three dicta (mottoes), 'E Pluribus Unum' (out of many, one), 'Anuit Coeptis' (a nod to the beginning), and 'Novus Ordo Seclorum' (new order for the ages), was approved in 1782. 'E Pluribus Unum' has appeared on US currency since 1795.

America's brilliant founders drafted the United States Constitution at the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia '...to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.' The Constitution prohibits 'Bribery,' omits 'God,' 'corporation,' 'free market,' etc., and was followed in 1791 by the ratification of the 'Bill of Rights,' the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. The first two clauses of the First Amendment state, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'

Despite this history, in 1864 Abraham Lincoln signed the Coinage Act mandating 'In God We Trust' on US currency. In 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower's signature made 'In God we trust' the 'official' motto of the United States and inserted, 'under God' into the Pledge of Allegiance. On March 24, 2011, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives passed resolution HR 2102 H.Con.Res 13 'reaffirming' 'In God We Trust' as the official motto of the US. On January 21, 2010, the United States Supreme Court upheld corporate citizenship rights including unlimited paid political advertising ('free' speech).

Legal trickery creating corporate personhood from incorrect head notes on an 1886 railroad decision and legislation 'reaffirming' a US motto invoking 'God' are egregious attacks on America's most important founding principles. If denying food and health care to minor, disabled, and elderly taxpayers to fund corporate tax breaks and 'subsidies' is not taxation without representation, what is? If invoking 'God' in government, on currency, and in public schools does not 'establish' religion, what would?

Should 'In God, we trust,' ignoring conspicuous falsehoods and surrendering our responsibilities to a deity, while America's neediest taxpayers subsidize tax sheltered corporations to 'drown' America 'in a bathtub?' Or will We the People step up, trust America's founder's, exercise our political power, proudly contribute, and work to solve our problems together as 'Out of many, one?'

Thank you for your time and attention.

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