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KPN's Journal
KPN's Journal
February 18, 2024

What happened to Atticus? Does anyone know?

Looking for for him to give him one of my left over hearts, I ran across this, a classic and one of his last threads in his journal and thougjt I’d share:

3;15 am

I remember how a cigarette I shouldn't have been smoking lit up a dark room with each drag.
And how summer nights smell when the world is asleep except for a distant hound and whatever stirred him.
You can't lie to yourself when it's just you to listen and you stand naked before your conscience.
The dawn may bring a wiser you because of what you've seen in the dark.
February 16, 2024

US unions target the housing affordability crisis as their 'biggest issue'

Organized labor across the country is now setting its sights on housing costs as rents and mortgages continue to soar. As housing has become a top issue in strikes and protests in recent months, US unions are pushing for change and backing innovative solutions for the housing affordability crisis.

Housing has been a big issue in the recent rolling strikes by thousands of Los Angeles hotel workers. In Oregon, 400 Yamhill county government employees went on strike in November because, the union said, “many workers are not able to afford housing”. In the Twin Cities, worker dismay about large rent hikes is fueling plans for a multi-union strike by up to 30,000 workers in March. When San Francisco hotel workers hold contract talks later this year, housing affordability will be a top issue.

The affordability crisis has spurred many responses. Last November, the United Food and Commercial Workers and other unions helped win approval of a ballot initiative in Tacoma, Washington, that bans cold-weather evictions between 1 November and 1 April and bars evicting households with students or educators anytime during the school year. The measure also requires landlords that raise rents by 5% or more to offer two months’ relocation assistance to tenants – and for rent increases of 10% or more, three months’ assistance.

Today’s labor activism about housing is in many ways a return to the past. “During the first three-quarters of the 20th century, unions were a strong voice and advocate for affordable housing for working families,” said Peter Dreier, an urban policy expert at Occidental College in Los Angeles. “They built their own union-sponsored housing. They fought for decent public housing. They fought for better code enforcement to rid cities of slums.” Their focus on housing faded in the 1980s as unions declined and laid off many staffers.

Good stuff!

January 29, 2024

To beat Trump, we need to know why Americans keep voting for him. Psychologists may have the answer

Many explanations are proposed for the continued rise of Donald Trump, and the steadfastness of his support, even as the outrages and criminal charges pile up. Some of these explanations are powerful. But there is one I have seen mentioned nowhere, which could, I believe, be the most important: Trump is king of the extrinsics.

Some psychologists believe our values tend to cluster around certain poles, described as “intrinsic” and “extrinsic”. People with a strong set of intrinsic values are inclined towards empathy, intimacy and self-acceptance ... tend to be open to challenge and change, interested in universal rights and equality, and protective of other people and the living world. People at the extrinsic end of the spectrum are more attracted to prestige, status, image, fame, power and wealth ... are strongly motivated by the prospect of individual reward and praise ... more likely to objectify and exploit other people, to behave rudely and aggressively and to dismiss social and environmental impacts. They have little interest in cooperation or community. People with a strong set of extrinsic values are more likely to suffer from frustration, dissatisfaction, stress, anxiety, anger and compulsive behaviour.
We are not born with our values. They are shaped by the cues and responses we receive from other people and the prevailing mores of our society. They are also moulded by the political environment we inhabit. If people live under a cruel and grasping political system, they tend to normalise and internalise it, absorbing its dominant claims and translating them into extrinsic values. This, in turn, permits an even crueller and more grasping political system to develop.

If, by contrast, people live in a country in which no one becomes destitute, in which social norms are characterised by kindness, empathy, community and freedom from want and fear, their values are likely to shift towards the intrinsic end. This process is known as policy feedback, or the “values ratchet”. The values ratchet operates at the societal and the individual level: a strong set of extrinsic values often develops as a result of insecurity and unfulfilled needs. These extrinsic values then generate further insecurity and unfulfilled needs.
When a society valorises status, money, power and dominance, it is bound to generate frustration. It is mathematically impossible for everyone to be number one. The more the economic elites grab, the more everyone else must lose. Someone must be blamed for the ensuing disappointment. In a culture that worships winners, it can’t be them. It must be those evil people pursuing a kinder world, in which wealth is distributed, no one is forgotten and communities and the living planet are protected. Those who have developed a strong set of extrinsic values will vote for the person who represents them, the person who has what they want. Trump. And where the US goes, the rest of us follow.

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Interesting read. Makes sense to me.
March 4, 2023

Doubts vanish as Democrats unite over Biden's 2024 bid: 'He will win'

House Democrats issues’ conference sees lawmakers across party’s ideological spectrum embrace idea of president’s re-election.

As Biden prepares to formally launch his campaign in the coming weeks, he appears set to enter the 2024 contest with the enthusiastic and unified backing of his congressional allies.

“I think he will win. I think he’s our strongest candidate,” Congressman Pete Aguilar, the House Democratic caucus chair from California, said on Thursday at an event with Punchbowl News. Aguilar added: “I think that he can and should run, and he’s going to have the support of the House Democratic caucus.”

That sentiment was echoed by progressive leaders in the House, who have occasionally clashed with Biden over policy matters. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), said on Thursday that she hopes Biden will announce his re-election campaign sooner rather than later. Citing Biden’s efforts to address the climate crisis and raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations, Jayapal complimented the president on delivering results for his supporters. “He’s been faithful to his electorate that elected him – to progressives who turned out in key states like Georgia and Arizona, movements that did that and the ideas that drove them,” Jayapal said.

House Democrats showed little interest in considering another candidate for 2024, instead arguing that Biden would be an asset in their efforts to recapture the majority next year. Republicans currently represent 18 House districts that Biden carried in 2020, as several Democratic leaders noted at the issues conference, and they believe the president’s re-election campaign could help the party swing those seats.

More here:
February 15, 2023

Hey, there's still some out there! Just gave one of

my remaining hearts to someone who didn’t have one! First one I’ve seen in quite a few days. Been busy and not around much the past week, so it feels pretty good to be able to do that!

November 11, 2022

US couple jailed for trying to sell navy secrets to foreign government

A federal judge has handed lengthy prison sentences to a US navy engineer and his wife for a plot to sell secrets about nuclear submarines to a person they thought was a representative of a foreign government, citing the “great danger” they posed to US security.

Prosecutors said Toebbe abused his access to top secret government information and repeatedly sold details about the design and performance of Virginia-class submarines to someone he believed was a representative of a foreign government but who was actually an undercover FBI agent.
Diana Toebbe, 46, who was teaching at a private school in Maryland when the couple were arrested last October, admitted she acted as a lookout at several prearranged “dead drop” locations, where memory cards containing the secret information were left behind.

The US district judge Gina Groh sentenced Jonathan Toebbe to more than 19 years and his wife, Diana Toebbe, to nearly 22 years. In August she had rejected earlier plea agreements that had called for reduced sentencing guidelines.
None of the information was classified as top secret or secret, falling into a third category considered confidential, according to previous testimony.


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Well then, all things being equal, seems like TFGs case ought to result in 22 years at a minimum. No?

May 25, 2022

I feel like the earth just moved. My 68 year old brother

who has been an ultra conservative right winger for the past 20 years or so just left me a voice mail. He called to let me know he has changed his mind about 2nd Amendment rights after yesterday’s Texas school shooting and would now even support all guns just being banned. He said he just “can’t allow this stuff to go on anymore”.

I’m still processing this thinking what in hell took him so long.

April 3, 2022

After Amazon workers' union victory -- in NY -- the Fed must stop tipping the scales for bosses

On Friday, Amazon – America’s wealthiest, most powerful and fiercest anti-union corporation, with the second-largest workforce in the nation (union-busting Walmart being the largest), lost out to a group of warehouse workers in New York who voted to form a union. If anyone had any doubts about Amazon’s determination to prevent this from ever happening, its scorched-earth anti-union campaign last fall in its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse should have put those doubts to rest. In New York, Amazon used every tool it had used in Alabama. Many of them are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act but Amazon couldn’t care less. It’s rich enough to pay any fine or bear any public relations hit.

With consumer demand soaring, employers are desperate to hire. This has given American workers more bargaining clout than they’ve had in decades. Wages have climbed 5.6% over the past year. The acute demand for workers has bolstered the courage of workers to demand better pay and working conditions from even the most virulently anti-union corporations in America, such as Amazon and Starbucks. ... American workers haven’t had much of a raise in over four decades. ... But corporate America believes these wage gains are contributing to inflation. As the New York Times solemnly reported, the wage gains “could heat up price increases”. ... Unfortunately, the chair of the Federal Reserve Board, Jerome Powell, believes it. He worries that “the labor market is extremely tight” and to “an unhealthy level”. As a result, the Fed is on the way to raising interest rates repeatedly in order to slow the economy and reduce the bargaining leverage of American workers.

Pause here to consider this: the commerce department reported on Wednesday that corporate profits are at a 70-year high. ... Not since 1952 have corporations done as well as they are now doing. Amazon’s profits are in the stratosphere, but it’s not just Amazon. Across the board, American corporations are flush with cash. ... Although they are paying higher costs (including higher wages), they’ve still managed to increase their profits. How? They have enough pricing power to pass on those higher costs to consumers, and even add some more for themselves.

In a healthy economy, corporations would not be passing on higher costs – including higher wages – to their consumers. They’d be paying the higher wages out of their profits. ... But that’s not happening. Corporations are using their record profits to buy back enormous amounts of their own stock to keep their share prices high, instead. The labor market isn’t “unhealthily” tight, as Jerome Powell asserts; corporations are unhealthily fat. Workers don’t have too much power; corporations do.

Yet the reality is that corporate America doesn’t want to give up any of its record profits to its workers. If it can’t fight off unions directly, it will do so indirectly by blaming inflation on wage increases, and then cheer on the Fed as it slows the economy just enough to eliminate American workers’ new bargaining clout.

February 8, 2022

Wow ... woke up to a heart! What a nice way to start

a day. Thank you to whomever. Time to spread some love and support this great place once again … and what a great way to do it! Cheers everyone.

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Member since: Tue Mar 25, 2014, 01:18 PM
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