We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, April 27. 2018
Archaeologists Release Grisly Details of Swedish Iron Age Massacre
Who would actually drive here? Dangerous Waterfall and Road in Nepal
Emotional support animals proliferate at Yale
Why Trump deserves a Nobel Prize
Seems like it
Jobless claims fall to lowest level in 48 years
NEA survey shows how many teachers might quit the union after Janus
" When negotiating collective-bargaining agreements or deciding whether to strike, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association don’t have students in mind any more than the United Automobile Workers has car buyers in mind."
The Pension Crisis Is Worse Than You Think
Migrant 'caravan' at U.S.-Mexico border prepares for mass crossing
Fixing a weakened espionage brand - The new director of the Central intelligence Agency must reverse the damaging Brennan reforms
Kanye West Doesn’t Care About Black People
How Israel Won Over The Syrian People
AP Exposes Hamas Definition of ‘Non-Violence’
The Chinese Communist Party Is Setting Up Cells at Universities Across America
Are they really commies anymore?
China Assigns Every Citizen A ‘Social Credit Score’ To Identify Who Is And Isn’t Trustworthy - Country Determines Your Standing Through Use Of Surveillance Video, Plans To Have 600 Million Cameras By 2020
Why do they fear their people so much?
Time to Fix the Flaws in the Deceitful Iran Nuclear Deal
Tracked: Apr 29, 08:41
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Clicked on the 'dangerous road ' link and got hammered with suspicious links on my Android
Choosing to join a union should always be my right. Being forced to join a union is not right.
It's that simple.
"Emotional support animals proliferate at Yale" tells you all you need to know about the value of an Ivy education today. Thinking about hiring? Understand that Ivy has become the equivalent of HBCU. Hopefully I won't need to explain that to you...
After seeing how our Communist(Progressive Democrats) govern US and how Xi governs China, I won’t choose one governing cell over the other.
He should be, but I suspect he won't, and given previous recipients, he ought to turn it down.
"Are they [the PRC] really commies anymore?
The Chinese haven't been communists for quite some time now.
Oh sure, the external trappings are still here and there: Mao's portrait, a red flag, the party meetings.
Modern China is actually just one big corporation and every Chinese citizen has to tow the company line.
They also represent a recurring military and industrial espionage threat to the West.
Modern China is actually just one big corporation and every Chinese citizen has to tow [sic] the company line. Or else. Just like IBM was, and Apple, Google, the Atlantic, the NYT and... are, eh?
My experience being in China is they are more capitalistic than the United States, although everything is still technically within a command economy structure overseen by the CPC. It could be called the Corporate Party of China now.
They have a middle class which is rapidly growing and is now much larger and more prosperous than the middle class in America. Instead of being in a situation of decay and decline like America is, China is in a state of rapid economic improvement and that plays out in the attitudes of the middle class. So long as things are getting better, they very much support the present system and the concept of "Our China."
When you're in China you see little evidence of the communist party other than nostalgic nods to the past (like finding Mao buttons and little red books in the tourist knick-knack shops). You do know that there are certain standards of behavior you have to follow and you do not want to get in trouble. But I think the society is actually more lax than other countries like South Korea, which has a lot of political freedom but is very regimented societally and in how you can behave.
Where you are socially in China does depend in part whether you are a Communist Party member. One of my friends is a lecturer and researcher at a major university. He could be a professor, but he doesn't like the Communist Party and refuses to play the game. (His family was very badly treated under Mao and he hasn't forgotten that--his father was a medical doctor who came back from London to China at the call of the new Communist Party government to treat Chinese soldiers injured in the Korean War--the medical class was later suppressed during the Cultural Revolution and his father ended up being arrested and dying in prison.) His wife, on the other hand, is a Communist Party member and she is chair of her department at the university. The fact she is a member actually kind of gives him more room and cover to grouse about things he doesn't like in China--he's kind of viewed as a wayward curmudgeon member of the faculty.
The thing that bothers me most about China is their concepts of honesty are pretty sketchy. A lot of folks will try to cheat you in business dealings, and they think that is all part of the game. My wife got cheated once buying a piece of jewelry in China and she is still pretty down on Mainland China. She had bought a jade bangle from a "government" jade shop, which supposedly means you won't be cheated, and paid a rather healthy price for it. When we got back she took it to one of our friends, a jade dealer here, and he just shook his head. He showed her the flaws in the jade and said that, at best, it was only worth 1/3 what she paid. He said you should never buy jade in Mainland China unless you are with a jade expert because you will be cheated.
China also has a serious lack of Chinese culture, which seems pretty strange to say but is true. Most of the traditional Chinese culture and values were destroyed by the Communists and replaced with a "dog eat dog" society. That is still very evident in public interactions where many people have no concept of politeness and will just push their way to the front to get something.
The government actually is now trying to bring back a sense of the Confucian value system and behaviors, and you will see a lot of stuff now talking about honoring the ancestors. But I wonder whether that can really be re-established.
''replaced with a "dog eat dog" society. That is still very evident in public interactions where many people have no concept of politeness and will just push their way to the front to get something.''
I have seen this in my travels in other countries, wherever you see a lot of Chinese.They can be very rude & loud also.Not all of'em but many are.
Yes, that is their general reputation, of being loud, rude and rich. Even in Taiwan, the Taiwanese Chinese say the Mainland Chinese drive them crazy because they have no manners.
In Seoul several years ago, the Mainland Chinese tourists were basically overwhelming everyone else with their numbers and money. The major department stores like Lotte and Shinsegae (which is very upscale) were largely accommodating the Chinese tourists because they were so rich and bought so much, and kind of started ignoring everyone else. They even had their own in-house tours with Chinese speaking guides who would try to sell the Chinese tourists everything. This changed when China pulled back its tourists because of disputes over the placement of THAAD missiles and other issues but Mainland Chinese travelers are still an economic force throughout Asia.
I personally have never understood the Mainland Chinese crowd mentality. It's totally counterproductive. Intersections in cities are one big snarl of cars and mopeds all trying to fight their way through the intersection without following any traffic rules. The traffic cops just stand on the corners and do nothing. The only time you have order is when the People's Liberation Army sends its soldiers out to direct traffic (usually during major holidays). People of course will follow their commands.
The most crazy example I saw of that was once in our hotel in Beijing. We were waiting for an elevator along with a bunch of Chinese businessmen. An elevator opens and there is immediately a huge scrum going on. People inside the elevator are trying to push their way out while the businessmen are all trying to push their way in. Meanwhile, I hear a "bing" right behind me and another elevator opens up. We step right in and are the only ones. The other folks were so busy fighting over getting into the other elevator they didn't even notice ours opening. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Here, check this out (Thai lady loses it over rude Chinese tourists--she mentions Korean airport bathroom, I don't know if this is Incheon which is generally quite orderly and spotless): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaPUX1lhjaA
I thought maybe they acted that way was because of the large population.A survival thing,.
I keep hearing warnings about how bad the "Pension Crisis" is, or is about to become, but until people stop being paid, or are refused their entitled benefits, I'm not buying the crisis part. of course, that will also be the time when our political class deigns to do something about it; albeit too late.
The political class will just cut all pensioners' benefits to share out what's left in the pot, regardless of who has earned what in pension. After all, it's not their pensions which are at risk.
"The Chinese Communist Party Is Setting Up Cells at Universities Across America"
This is the problem with colleges actively bringing in foreign students and unlimited and uncontrolled immigration and H1B programs. We have no clue how many people are here to do us harm. It could be millions, they could be foreign government spies, foreign corporate spies, foreign terror organizations and lone wolfs. We have opened the gates to the Huns, the Barbarians, the Vandals, the Visagoths and the Gauls all at once. Our leaders are fools.
The Chinese Communist Party Is Setting Up Cells at Universities Across America"
Umm..should read, "Universities have been setting up Communist cells for the last 40 years"
And Barry Soetoro aka Barak Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize for what? If Trump succeeds with the NOKO issue he should be a candidate.
I assume there was a time when the Nobel Prize was not political. But for the last 50 years or so it has been and constantly getting worse. At this point it is probably good if you do NOT get nominated for a Nobel prize.
The pension crisis which means the 50 state pension crises is 100% for fault of the state legislatures. These pension systems were poorly designed. The worst flaws are:
1. they allow police and fire workers to retire at age 50 with 100% pension. This is not paid for and it saps the fund the rest of the retirees depend on.
2. It requires the individual contribution to be paid monthly, as it should, but allows the states contribution to be delayed indefinitely. With a good to booming stock market this creates a compounding deficit that the state ultimately cannot ever overcome.
3. It allows retirees to be compensated based on their last pay rate and not on the more logical concept of basing it on what they actually put into the system. It is not uncommon for favored people in public service to get a massive step up in pay as they near retirement as a gift from administrators and legislators. This is crony politics and makes no sense in a retirement system.
All of this could be fixed. But a big problem is that the prior employees and retirees have legal contracts so it will be difficult to change that part of the system.
It allows retirees to be compensated based on their last pay rate and not on the more logical concept of basing it on what they actually put into the system. It is not uncommon for favored people in public service to get a massive step up in pay as they near retirement as a gift from administrators and legislators. This is crony politics and makes no sense in a retirement system.
Here in Texas, the teacher's retirement system is based on the average of your three highest years' salaries. So 3 years from retirements, the old teachers move into administrative jobs at higher salaries. Presto! Higher pension payments. And that is ok IF they have paid enough into the system to justify their higher pension. But in most places, pension payouts are fantasy land compared to what the government has put into the system.
If you really want to give it to the people who prevented the most conflict over the past 60 years, it should be given jointly to the US Strategic Air Command and the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, but that's never going to happen either.
Above reply should have been to 10.2.
This replay should be that in police and fire departments, the process is known as "spiking". Pensions tend to be based not on base salary, but on what the person actually made. So an officer or firefighter racks up hundreds of hours of overtime assignments in his last year, spiking his pay basis for pension calculations. Since eligibility for overtime assignments is typically determined by seniority, it is made simple. That's why you'll see the highest ranking officers working security for parades and high-school football games, for instance.
That is a big problem here too. It is called the "High Three," in that your pension is based on the average of your highest 3 years of salary. What you commonly see here is career politicians who technically don't get paid that much for legislative service (they make their money on the side doing deals outside their political office), suddenly retiring and being appointed by the ruling party to a cushy administrative job. Three years later they then retire and get their High Three. It also works for the political system, in that in keeps open seats to a minimum. Instead, if a legislator retires mid-term, the governor selects the replacement to serve the remainder of the term--the person is selected from a list prepared by the central party committee. The new loyal party member then succeeds to the political and fundraising machine of the predecessor. The goal is to always be running an "incumbent," to minimize the possibility an outside challenger could win the election. The result is that our state has the lowest voter participation in the country. Many races are uncontested, and in any event you know how they are coming out already.
My father was a teacher who - in his latter years - ended up in administration. Not that he aspired to be there, as he was a born teacher. However, his talents with the youngun's meant that - back in the day - the district recognized his ability and he ended up (after being told to apply) as Vice-Principal of the local high school for a fair few years. Do not think there was the "three-year rule" at that time, but getting the promotion did increase the pension. However, he was able to keep going until he was 63, when ill health forced him to retire. The year after he retired, the graduating class honoured him in the yearbook and lamented that they had not had the benefit of his wisdom and advice.
The person with the emotional support hedgehog should be given a pass on the basis of creativity alone. Eccentricity is fine, maybe even healthy in our elites. Hell, the British Empire was built on that, wasn't it?
But dogs and cats are just too easy. I expect better from our best and brightest.
Migrant 'caravan' at U.S.-Mexico border prepares for mass crossing
Crossing in California, not in Texas. What a surprise.
" until people stop being paid, or are refused their entitled benefits"
I knew a lady that worked for an airline that went bankrupt and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation took over the pension fund. When she retired she received $1,000 a month less from this pension fund than she anticipated because the money just was not in the fund to pay the promised pensions. Now if that happened to government employees, you might see some reforms.
Re: Fixing a weakened espionage brand
What a load. The Brennan reforms will have a long-term impact by severely limiting the CIA’s espionage capabilities — and they should be reversed by the next CIA director.
Under Mr. Brennan and with the support of Ms. Haspel, the modernization plan systematically dismantled and destroyed the CIA’s operations division — the heart of the agency’s critical mission of using people to steal vital secrets around the world.
Yeah, that was kind of the point, because despite your belief that there's a commie under every bed and the only way to fight them is to put a CIA agent under every bed, some of us think the intelligence services are way, way, way off the rails and we're living in a surveillance state. Some of us actually want you to stop doing all the secret illegal, unethical, unconstitutional stuff you're doing because you're not keeping us safe, you're making us less safe. Especially less safe from you.
And then there's this author's note: Brad Johnson, a retired CIA station chief and operations officer, is president of Americans for Intelligence Reform. A quick Google search for both this person and this organization draws a single relevant search result - a cite to this article. Otherwise, neither Brad Johnson nor Americans for Intelligence Reform even exist as far as Google is concerned. So who's really behind this appalling piece of propaganda?
Soros. Or just as likely, the Koch brothers.
Although quite frankly it could just as well be any of the Davos or Bilderberg crowd with sufficient funds to prop up this treason.
"If you woke up tomorrow and discovered that you could stop paying a fee to your union but the union would still have to represent you, would you still opt to pay?”
This govt. employee says NO, I would not opt to pay.
"Archaeologists Release Grisly Details of Swedish Iron Age Massacre"
From the description, this was obviously the work of Grendel.