Category Archives: Politics

White Nationalist Rep. Steve King Posts Violent Meme About New Civil War | HuffPost

This is the most disturbing US politician I’ve read about in quite a while. Is *THIS* really what the Republican Party stands for now? Iowa should be deeply ashamed of electing this enormous asshole. Everyone should.

Republican lawmaker claims it’ll take 8 trillion bullets to kill 150 million liberals. Are they saying they would be on the side of Star Wars Empire’s Storm Troopers now?

Source: White Nationalist Rep. Steve King Posts Violent Meme About New Civil War | HuffPost

Why Napalm Is a Cautionary Tale for Tech Giants Pursuing Military Contracts – The New York Times

This article encourages me somewhat about the current younger generation. If all the smartest AI engineers stay away from the military contractors, and instead work to make the world safer, cheaper, smarter, then I’m all for that.

Dow Chemical stopped making napalm for the military in 1969, just four years after it began. But the reputational damage haunted the company for decades.

Source: Why Napalm Is a Cautionary Tale for Tech Giants Pursuing Military Contracts – The New York Times

 

I worked at the Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago Illinois for about five years. That place was originally staffed in equal amounts of Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and civil service employees. A couple years later, the Marines stupidly pulled like 80% of their staff out of the project, reducing their later ability to influence decisions. I hope they came to regret that by now.

US Civil Servants are not rewarded anywhere near what the equivalent private market place pays. On the other hand, while it’s not exactly a union, it’s pretty hard to fire a civil service worker. I used to joke that one had to murder their BOSS to get fired. Anything else was either tolerated, or worked around.

Because the US Government pays it’s own employees shitty salaries, and no bonuses, so they end up with lots of mediocre employees, lead by deep staffing charts of mostly mediocre management. It makes sense they outsource so much these days, but it’s also kind of weird. They outsource because their staff can’t do it, because they don’t pay enough to attract lots of good talent. But they’re willing to pay outrageous contract fees for years, which ends up paying all those higher priced private employees. How does that win?

I’ll bet the USG could save money if they revamped the job reviews system, did what companies do, and realign pay scales with the industry, so they can start attracting better management and technical talent. Right now, I figure anyone you know who works for the government, settled for that job. If only they actually honored the deal they offered people, work for charity or any public service job for 10 years, pay the standard rates on your college loans for 10 years, and the government will forgive any remaining college loan balance. In 2017, over 30,000 people filed the paperwork for that program, having completed the requirements, and submitted all the paperwork. A grand total of 96 were approved. Maybe they should require civil servants get pre-approved for the loan forgiveness program as soon as they start their public service career, so they don’t get screwed 10 years later. One guy said he was told he had the wrong kind of public service job. All he could do is work another 10 years, into his 70s, and try again. Sigh

Wouldn’t company profits and shareholder value rise, and product prices fall, if the government mandated all the corporate boards around the country would revamp their executive rewards, to get senior leadership pay scales back into the realm of reality.

Nobody will ever convince me that every company must pay multiple millions of dollars to attract a talented enough executive team. Corporate Executives, as a whole, are holding companies hostage, and refusing to do a good job unless they are excessively rewarded, like 1,000 times their companies median salary, and also they deserve a golden parachute, which is just a HUGE bonus if they get fired from their job or if they ruin the company. Actually, I’d love that deal, where do I sign up?

Most executives act like they are special, the new Lords and Ladies of the realm, the modern upper class. They live in elite neighbors, they can afford all the toys, their kids are often spoiled. All worship the Executive Class, because they make more money every year than the sum total of all their employees paychecks.

Kentucky House approves bill to let people carry concealed guns without a permit | TheHill

As if I needed another reason to avoid being in Kentucky, now this.

I was surprised by how many states allow “Constitutional Carry”. Scary to think about. I may have to check laws more carefully before picking vacation spots.

The Kentucky House on Friday passed a bill that would allow people to carry concealed firearms without a permit or training.

Source: Kentucky House approves bill to let people carry concealed guns without a permit | TheHill

Autonomous Vehicles May One Day Kill Car Insurance as We Know It – Bloomberg

Whoa! What a concept? Nobody mentioned this before? If suddenly 150 million people in the US no longer need to pay $100-200 per month for car insurance. Maybe autonomous car liability will be handled by the Ubers and Lyfts of the world, so people like me won’t have to worry about that cost anymore. I was thinking I’d upgrade to an electric car in the future, but maybe no car is the right solution in the suburbs. I’m getting older, and may lose my license, as my eyesight gets worse over the years. Doctor says I have mild cataracts, so I worry about these kinds of things. So a callable ride service would be a godsend, 24 hours a day.

You could even turn local ambulance services into a specialized Uber kind of service, so they learn automatically where to “stage” ambulances to handle the most calls. Wouldn’t that optimize the costs of running such a service, and let you know which shifts you need more staff on, where you’re overstaffed, and stuff like that?

Without humans to cause accidents, 90% of risk is removed. Insurers are scrambling to prepare.

Source: Autonomous Vehicles May One Day Kill Car Insurance as We Know It – Bloomberg

Trump’s DHS Guts Task Forces Protecting Elections From Foreign Meddling

I wonder why Trump would want to block effective election meddling by hostile foreign powers. But isn’t that what he’s accused of using to get elected? Doesn’t look good. Bob Mueller? You paying attention?

‘It’s very curious why the leadership has not committed resources to prepare for the 2020 election,’ one Homeland Security official tells The Daily Beast.

Source: Trump’s DHS Guts Task Forces Protecting Elections From Foreign Meddling

The complicated truth about China’s social credit system | WIRED UK

First of all, I apologize for linking to a pay-walled site. Sorry. But the topic of a nationalized citizen scoring system is quite timely, I think. Quite a few people in government want the US Homeland Security division to produce exactly such a thing for everyone in America, to become the basis of things like government inspections, such as TSA searches at airports and train stations, businesses during job applications, and any law enforcement incident, including immigration control and traffic stops.

If you are in the system, and have a reasonably good score, maybe you get a warning instead of a ticket. You also won’t get strip searched or asked embarrassing questions. If you are anonymous, or have a less than stallar score, maybe you get examined a little more closely. It all sounds like yet another creepy Black Mirror episode, if you ask me.

I also wonder how many individual metrics they could come up with to judge our behaviour by. No doubt that list would change over time, but even just a starting list. Financial reliability, financial health, respect for authority, respect for family, respect for laws, respect for others, respect for safety, respect for health, etc. What else?

China’s social credit system isn’t a world first but when it’s complete it will be unique. The system isn’t just as simple as everyone being given a score though

Source: The complicated truth about China’s social credit system | WIRED UK

Grandma sentenced to prison for helping her ex-boyfriend vote

She had been caught in an aggressive push by U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon Jr. to focus on the prosecution of noncitizens for voting, rather than the ballot-tampering allegations in Bladen County, N.C. Republicans across the country, including President Trump, have sought to paint illegal voting as a widespread phenomenon that threatens the integrity of American elections.

Source: Voter fraud: Grandma sentenced to prison for helping her ex-boyfriend vote – The Washington Post