Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed
The link does not work. I retrieved a cached page of this post here. 

Apparently it came from the site _ed.

Submitted by admin on December 22, 2011 – 10:11 AMNo Comment | 3,302 views

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.
I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never
became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical
details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end.
That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Source: Received via Email

How Law School Was For Me: Chapter 1

You asked how law school was for me. Law school was bad for me. When I came out I felt as though my brain was a hard drive that had been reformatted with errors.

Here's a taste of the first part of my law school tale.

During my first quarter at UCSB, my Labor History Prof. Antonio Zaragosa encouraged me to consider law school. I dismissed the idea for months. Then I spent 2 years researching the topic before I committed.

I took an LSAT prep course, but I had too many other things going my last quarter at UCSB to give it my full attention. I couldn't get the games part. My score on reading comprehension and analysis was good enough to get me into Hastings, along with my academic and service record. I got a "try next year" from Boalt Hall, but my 1L grades were so embarrassing I did not apply.

I was honored to be accepted to UC Hastings College of the Law. My life changed forever there.

At Hastings, they do not teach us that we need the blackletter law. I suppose that warning is for the memorizers. I am sure that many of your classmates were memorizers too. I can memorize lines for a play, but apparently cannot memorize the law. Before I applied, I asked specifically if one had to be a good memorizer before I made the decision to study law.

I asked again about memorization during the first week at Orientation. I was again told that it was OK that I was not a memorizer. I challenged the head of the LEOP Program about her comment at the end of the first year. She said, "Oh, I said that for the memorizers."

So for the next two years, I tried to memorize stuff. But I couldn't even stay awake in class 1/4 of the time the first year. I had a sleeping disorder. After three months into my first semester, visits to psychiatrists, and sleeping pills, I thought that it might be the noise in the Tenderloin, so I went to Fox Hardware and bought a white sound machine around Nov. 1. For the first time since August, I could sleep for more than four hours. It was great!

On Nov. 30 I fell and broke my leg. I cracked my kneecap and chipped the top of my tibia. I could not put any weight on the leg for two months, and crutches were not an alternative when carrying 100 lbs. of books and computer. Hastings's handicapped access elevator was broken and not repaired until my 3L year.

So I was in a wheelchair for the finals study period AND finals.

Near the end of my second semester, my apartment caught fire and was uninhabitable for a month.

So far, so good.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

women who give too much: notes

  • Friend: I see me too. In addition I noticed her guilt came from not rescuing (fixing) her brother. I actually have been labeled "the fixer" because I always fix problems (or at least try) for everyone -Gosh are we all crazy? My New Years resolution is not to "fix" anything that isn't my problem. I'm tired of it all.

  • Me: On the morning of my law school graduation, I was finishing the last of 120 Public Interest graduation sashes for the honorees. I sewed them all myself. Lilian helped me cut them out. I sewed them because I thought that they were too expensive. I didn't see the school giving us funding for them. Hastings has not had them since. So I was right, but in the long run, what diff did it make?

    about an hour ago · Like

  • Friend: scary, we take different paths and still end up the same place. this really is a bad habit that i, at least, must break. I think that every time i feel the urge to step in and fix or give, i'm going have a brownie. i will be fatter (oh well) but happier i think. hope you have a lovely Christmas. be good to yourself.

    37 minutes ago · Like

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paul Krugman: Quote of the Day -- "Will China Break?"

All economic statistics are best seen as a peculiarly boring form of science fiction, but China’s numbers are more fictional than most.
I hope that I’m being needlessly alarmist here. But it’s impossible not to be worried: China’s story just sounds too much like the crack-ups we’ve already seen elsewhere. And a world economy already suffering from the mess in Europe really, really doesn’t need a new epicenter of crisis.
Will China Break?

Consider the following picture: Recent growth has relied on a huge construction boom fueled by surging real estate prices, and exhibiting all the classic signs of a bubble. There was rapid growth in credit — with much of that growth taking place not through traditional banking but rather through unregulated “shadow banking” neither subject to government supervision nor backed by government guarantees. Now the bubble is bursting — and there are real reasons to fear financial and economic crisis.

Am I describing Japan at the end of the 1980s? Or am I describing America in 2007? I could be. But right now I’m talking about China, which is emerging as another danger spot in a world economy that really, really doesn’t need this right now.

I’ve been reluctant to weigh in on the Chinese situation, in part because it’s so hard to know what’s really happening. All economic statistics are best seen as a peculiarly boring form of science fiction, but China’s numbers are more fictional than most. I’d turn to real China experts for guidance, but no two experts seem to be telling the same story.

Still, even the official data are troubling — and recent news is sufficiently dramatic to ring alarm bells.

The most striking thing about the Chinese economy over the past decade was the way household consumption, although rising, lagged behind overall growth. At this point consumer spending is only about 35 percent of G.D.P., about half the level in the United States.

So who’s buying the goods and services China produces? Part of the answer is, well, we are: as the consumer share of the economy declined, China increasingly relied on trade surpluses to keep manufacturing afloat. But the bigger story from China’s point of view is investment spending, which has soared to almost half of G.D.P.

The obvious question is, with consumer demand relatively weak, what motivated all that investment? And the answer, to an important extent, is that it depended on an ever-inflating real estate bubble. Real estate investment has roughly doubled as a share of G.D.P. since 2000, accounting directly for more than half of the overall rise in investment. And surely much of the rest of the increase was from firms expanding to sell to the burgeoning construction industry.

Do we actually know that real estate was a bubble? It exhibited all the signs: not just rising prices, but also the kind of speculative fever all too familiar from our own experiences just a few years back — think coastal Florida.

And there was another parallel with U.S. experience: as credit boomed, much of it came not from banks but from an unsupervised, unprotected shadow banking system. There were huge differences in detail: shadow banking American style tended to involve prestigious Wall Street firms and complex financial instruments, while the Chinese version tends to run through underground banks and even pawnshops. Yet the consequences were similar: in China as in America a few years ago, the financial system may be much more vulnerable than data on conventional banking reveal.

Now the bubble is visibly bursting. How much damage will it do to the Chinese economy — and the world?

Some commentators say not to worry, that China has strong, smart leaders who will do whatever is necessary to cope with a downturn. Implied though not often stated is the thought that China can do what it takes because it doesn’t have to worry about democratic niceties.

To me, however, these sound like famous last words. After all, I remember very well getting similar assurances about Japan in the 1980s, where the brilliant bureaucrats at the Ministry of Finance supposedly had everything under control. And later, there were assurances that America would never, ever, repeat the mistakes that led to Japan’s lost decade — when we are, in reality, doing even worse than Japan did.

For what it’s worth, statements about economic policy from Chinese officials don’t strike me as being especially clear-headed. In particular, the way China has been lashing out at foreigners — among other things, imposing a punitive tariff on imports of U.S.-made autos that will do nothing to help its economy but will help poison trade relations — does not sound like a mature government that knows what it’s doing.

And anecdotal evidence suggests that while China’s government may not be constrained by rule of law, it is constrained by pervasive corruption, which means that what actually happens at the local level may bear little resemblance to what is ordered in Beijing.

I hope that I’m being needlessly alarmist here. But it’s impossible not to be worried: China’s story just sounds too much like the crack-ups we’ve already seen elsewhere. And a world economy already suffering from the mess in Europe really, really doesn’t need a new epicenter of crisis.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The bat-shoot crazy GOP

The other problem is the Dem Party itself. We have many Dems, a few recently voted into office, who also agree on the conservative/business side. I swear the former GOP candidates that do not want to be known as part of the "bat-s*** crazy" GOP, so they sign up, and run as Democrats.

Connecticut Democrats Turn Cold Shoulder on Problematic Candidate

How Ayn Rand Seduced Generations of Young Men and Helped Make the U.S. Into a Selfish, Greedy Nation

By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet
Posted on December 15, 2011, Printed on December 19, 2011

Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society....To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.— Gore Vidal, 1961

Only rarely in U.S. history do writers transform us to become a more caring or less caring nation. In the 1850s, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was a strong force in making the United States a more humane nation, one that would abolish slavery of African Americans. A century later, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) helped make the United States into one of the most uncaring nations in the industrialized world, a neo-Dickensian society where healthcare is only for those who can afford it, and where young people are coerced into huge student-loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Rand’s impact has been widespread and deep. At the iceberg’s visible tip is the influence she’s had over major political figures who have shaped American society. In the 1950s, Ayn Rand read aloud drafts of what was later to become Atlas Shrugged to her “Collective,” Rand’s ironic nickname for her inner circle of young individualists, which included Alan Greenspan, who would serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board from 1987 to 2006.

In 1966, Ronald Reagan wrote in a personal letter, “Am an admirer of Ayn Rand.” Today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) credits Rand for inspiring him to go into politics, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) calls Atlas Shrugged his “foundation book.” Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) says Ayn Rand had a major influence on him, and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is an even bigger fan. A short list of other Rand fans includes Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; Christopher Cox, chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission in George W. Bush’s second administration; and former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

But Rand’s impact on U.S. society and culture goes even deeper.

The Seduction of Nathan Blumenthal

Ayn Rand’s books such as The Virtue of Selfishness and her philosophy that celebrates self-interest and disdains altruism may well be, as Vidal assessed, “nearly perfect in its immorality.” But is Vidal right about evil? Charles Manson, who himself did not kill anyone, is the personification of evil for many of us because of his psychological success at exploiting the vulnerabilities of young people and seducing them to murder. What should we call Ayn Rand’s psychological ability to exploit the vulnerabilities of millions of young people so as to influence them not to care about anyone besides themselves?

While Greenspan (tagged “A.G.” by Rand) was the most famous name that would emerge from Rand’s Collective, the second most well-known name to emerge from the Collective was Nathaniel Branden, psychotherapist, author and “self-esteem” advocate. Before he was Nathaniel Branden, he was Nathan Blumenthal, a 14-year-old who read Rand’s The Fountainhead again and again. He later would say, “I felt hypnotized.” He describes how Rand gave him a sense that he could be powerful, that he could be a hero. He wrote one letter to his idol Rand, then a second. To his amazement, she telephoned him, and at age 20, Nathan received an invitation to Ayn Rand’s home. Shortly after, Nathan Blumenthal announced to the world that he was incorporating Rand in his new name: Nathaniel Branden. And in 1955, with Rand approaching her 50th birthday and Branden his 25th, and both in dissatisfying marriages, Ayn bedded Nathaniel.

What followed sounds straight out of Hollywood, but Rand was straight out of Hollywood, having worked for Cecil B. DeMille. Rand convened a meeting with Nathaniel, his wife Barbara (also a Collective member), and Rand’s own husband Frank. To Branden's astonishment, Rand convinced both spouses that a time-structured affair—she and Branden were to have one afternoon and one evening a week together—was “reasonable.” Within the Collective, Rand is purported to have never lost an argument. On his trysts at Rand’s New York City apartment, Branden would sometimes shake hands with Frank before he exited. Later, all discovered that Rand’s sweet but passive husband would leave for a bar, where he began his self-destructive affair with alcohol.

By 1964, the 34-year-old Nathaniel Branden had grown tired of the now 59-year-old Ayn Rand. Still sexually dissatisfied in his marriage to Barbara and afraid to end his affair with Rand, Branden began sleeping with a married 24-year-old model, Patrecia Scott. Rand, now “the woman scorned,” called Branden to appear before the Collective, whose nickname had by now lost its irony for both Barbara and Branden. Rand’s justice was swift. She humiliated Branden and then put a curse on him: “If you have one ounce of morality left in you, an ounce of psychological health—you'll be impotent for the next twenty years! And if you achieve potency sooner, you'll know it’s a sign of still worse moral degradation!”

Rand completed the evening with two welt-producing slaps across Branden’s face. Finally, in a move that Stalin and Hitler would have admired, Rand also expelled poor Barbara from the Collective, declaring her treasonous because Barbara, preoccupied by her own extramarital affair, had neglected to fill Rand in soon enough on Branden's extra-extra-marital betrayal. (If anyone doubts Alan Greenspan’s political savvy, keep in mind that he somehow stayed in Rand’s good graces even though he, fixed up by Branden with Patrecia’s twin sister, had double-dated with the outlaws.)

After being banished by Rand, Nathaniel Branden was worried that he might be assassinated by other members of the Collective, so he moved from New York to Los Angeles, where Rand fans were less fanatical. Branden established a lucrative psychotherapy practice and authored approximately 20 books, 10 of them with either “Self” or “Self-Esteem” in the title. Rand and Branden never reconciled, but he remains an admirer of her philosophy of self-interest.

Ayn Rand’s personal life was consistent with her philosophy of not giving a shit about anybody but herself. Rand was an ardent two-pack-a-day smoker, and when questioned about the dangers of smoking, she loved to light up with a defiant flourish and then scold her young questioners on the “unscientific and irrational nature of the statistical evidence.” After an x-ray showed that she had lung cancer, Rand quit smoking and had surgery for her cancer. Collective members explained to her that many people still smoked because they respected her and her assessment of the evidence; and that since she no longer smoked, she ought to tell them. They told her that she needn’t mention her lung cancer, that she could simply say she had reconsidered the evidence. Rand refused.

How Rand’s Philosophy Seduced Young Minds

When I was a kid, my reading included comic books and Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. There wasn’t much difference between the comic books and Rand’s novels in terms of the simplicity of the heroes. What was different was that unlike Superman or Batman, Rand made selfishness heroic, and she made caring about others weakness.

Rand said, “Capitalism and altruism are incompatible....The choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man’s happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces.” For many young people, hearing that it is “moral” to care only about oneself can be intoxicating, and some get addicted to this idea for life.

I have known several people, professionally and socially, whose lives have been changed by those close to them who became infatuated with Ayn Rand. A common theme is something like this: “My ex-husband wasn’t a bad guy until he started reading Ayn Rand. Then he became a completely selfish jerk who destroyed our family, and our children no longer even talk to him.”

To wow her young admirers, Rand would often tell a story of how a smart-aleck book salesman had once challenged her to explain her philosophy while standing on one leg. She replied: “Metaphysics—objective reality. Epistemology—reason. Ethics—self-interest. Politics—capitalism.” How did that philosophy capture young minds?

Metaphysics—objective reality. Rand offered a narcotic for confused young people: complete certainty and a relief from their anxiety. Rand believed that an “objective reality” existed, and she knew exactly what that objective reality was. It included skyscrapers, industries, railroads, and ideas—at least her ideas. Rand’s objective reality did not include anxiety or sadness. Nor did it include much humor, at least the kind where one pokes fun at oneself. Rand assured her Collective that objective reality did not include Beethoven’s, Rembrandt’s, and Shakespeare’s realities—they were too gloomy and too tragic, basically buzzkillers. Rand preferred Mickey Spillane and, towards the end of her life, “Charlie's Angels.”

Epistemology—reason. Rand’s kind of reason was a “cool-tool” to control the universe. Rand demonized Plato, and her youthful Collective members were taught to despise him. If Rand really believed that the Socratic Method described by Plato of discovering accurate definitions and clear thinking did not qualify as “reason,” why then did she regularly attempt it with her Collective? Also oddly, while Rand mocked dark moods and despair, her “reasoning” directed that Collective members should admire Dostoyevsky, whose novels are filled with dark moods and despair. A demagogue, in addition to hypnotic glibness, must also be intellectually inconsistent, sometimes boldly so. This eliminates challenges to authority by weeding out clear-thinking young people from the flock.

Ethics—self-interest. For Rand, all altruists were manipulators. What could be more seductive to kids who discerned the motives of martyr parents, Christian missionaries and U.S. foreign aiders? Her champions, Nathaniel Branden still among them, feel that Rand’s view of “self-interest” has been horribly misrepresented. For them, self-interest is her hero architect Howard Roark turning down a commission because he couldn’t do it exactly his way. Some of Rand’s novel heroes did have integrity, however, for Rand there is no struggle to discover the distinction between true integrity and childish vanity. Rand’s integrity was her vanity, and it consisted of getting as much money and control as possible, copulating with whomever she wanted regardless of who would get hurt, and her always being right. To equate one’s selfishness, vanity, and egotism with one’s integrity liberates young people from the struggle to distinguish integrity from selfishness, vanity, and egotism.

Politics—capitalism. While Rand often disparaged Soviet totalitarian collectivism, she had little to say about corporate totalitarian collectivism, as she conveniently neglected the reality that giant U.S. corporations, like the Soviet Union, do not exactly celebrate individualism, freedom, or courage. Rand was clever and hypocritical enough to know that you don’t get rich in the United States talking about compliance and conformity within corporate America. Rather, Rand gave lectures titled: “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business.” So, young careerist corporatists could embrace Rand’s self-styled “radical capitalism” and feel radical — radical without risk.

Rand’s Legacy

In recent years, we have entered a phase where it is apparently okay for major political figures to publicly embrace Rand despite her contempt for Christianity. In contrast, during Ayn Rand’s life, her philosophy that celebrated self-interest was a private pleasure for the 1 percent but she was a public embarrassment for them. They used her books to congratulate themselves on the morality of their selfishness, but they publicly steered clear of Rand because of her views on religion and God. Rand, for example, had stated on national television, “I am against God. I don’t approve of religion. It is a sign of a psychological weakness. I regard it as an evil.”

Actually, again inconsistent, Rand did have a God. It was herself. She said:

I am done with the monster of “we,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: “I.”

While Harriet Beecher Stowe shamed Americans about the United State’s dehumanization of African Americans and slavery, Ayn Rand removed Americans’ guilt for being selfish and uncaring about anyone except themselves. Not only did Rand make it “moral” for the wealthy not to pay their fair share of taxes, she “liberated” millions of other Americans from caring about the suffering of others, even the suffering of their own children.

The good news is that I’ve seen ex-Rand fans grasp the damage that Rand’s philosophy has done to their lives and to then exorcize it from their psyche. Can the United States as a nation do the same thing?

>Bruce E. Levine is a clinical psychologist and author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite (Chelsea Green, 2011). His Web site is

© 2011 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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Problem Solved: You're Welcome!

Among the many horrors of war are the social imbalances that follow. These imbalances threaten the stability of society. Social engineering plays a part as well in this global tragedy of errors.

December 19, 2011, 9:21 AM
The Plight of China’s Favored Sons
ZHUHAI, China — In the rural Chinese town where Li Yiming grew up, the gossip mill starts to turn if a man is still single at 25. As he nears this milestone, the 23-year-old Li, an assembly-line worker in the coastal city of Zhuhai, is despondent. He knows he’ll never earn enough at any factory to win the approval of his girlfriend’s parents.

Associated Press
Finding a spouse isn’t easy anywhere. But Li (whose name has been changed) is part of a cohort of millions of Chinese men, the favored sons, whose chances of ever getting married are particularly slim. After a rapid decline in fertility rates and decades of sex-selective abortions, there are now many more potential grooms than brides in China. This “marriage squeeze,” as demographers call the imbalance, is not a historical first — Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea have all had trouble marrying off their men — but in China it may be unprecedented in scale.

According to Dudley Poston, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M University, and his colleagues, 40 million Chinese men alive today will likely be left without a wife. That’s more people than the population of California.

Uneducated men from the countryside like Li have the worst prospects because many marriages in rural China are local. Traditional family ties often mean that the first choice for a spouse is someone from the same town. But sex ratios at birth (S.R.B.) — the ratio of boys born to girls — are generally much higher in the countryside than in the cities. And so the market dynamics of marriage for men in rural areas are much worse than in the cities.

Demographers consider a natural S.R.B. to be between 104 and 107 boys born for every 100 girls. Nationally, China’s sex ratio at birth is 120 boys per 100 girls; in rural areas, where couples often have more than one child, the S.R.B. for second children rises to 145 (and in nine provinces, it’s a staggering 160, according to Poston). By comparison, the U.S. sex ratio at birth is 105 boys per 100 girls. The main reason for this gap is the use of ultrasound scanners to determine the gender of fetuses, followed by the abortion of many female ones.

The other reason Li will have a hard time finding a wife is the “no money, no honey” dynamic. Chinese brides and their parents prefer men with the highest possible income, in particular those who own property. A recent study by the China Youth Daily found that 35 percent of women of marrying age would not consider tying the knot with a man who didn’t own property or who couldn’t afford to buy some. Li earns about $3,400 a year and his girlfriend’s parents expect him to buy an apartment that costs about $47,000.

What will happen if so many Chinese men never get married? Wei Shang-jin, of Columbia University, and Zhang Xiaobo, of the International Food Policy Research Institute, predict that China’s marriage squeeze could stimulate economic growth by prodding men to work harder in order to woo a bride. But most projections are not so sanguine.

Some observers predict that disgruntled bachelors like Li will go on strike to ask for more money or may resort to crime. Texas A&M’s Poston argues that cases of H.I.V. could rise as men congregate in “bachelor ghettos” in big cities. Others still warn that China may be more likely to go to war to keep its single men out of trouble at home.

At a minimum, the marriage squeeze will widen various disparities in Chinese society today: between the rich and the poor, the cities and the countryside, those with property and those without. None of these is a good scenario for a Chinese government whose primary objective is stability.

Alexandra Harney is the author of “The China Price” and an associate fellow at the Asia Society.

Whatever happened to General McChrystal?

My Financial Times headlines yielded this nugget of information.

Siemens hires former Afghanistan general
German group acquires services of Stanley McChrystal with aim of bolstering US government business arm
Further research demonstrated that he spent the first half of 2011 establishing
The McChrystal Group.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Political Washington Abolishes Due Process Protections is a local San Francisco Bay Area affiliate of, which was established originally to provide a web presence for the Seattle WTO Protests of 1999. Kindly take a moment to learn about Indymedia, where you may publish your text, audio and video right away. Your regional Indymedia site may be of value in the near future. You can even volunteer from your home if you wish to help keep it up. ~Via

Political Washington Abolishes Due Process Protections - by Stephen Lendman

Main Street Europe and America face protracted Depression conditions. As a result, millions lost jobs, homes, incomes, and futures.

Human misery is growing. So is public anger. Rage across America and Europe reflect it. Gerald Celente explains the stakes, saying:

"When people lose everything and have nothing else to lose, they lose it."

Draconian police state provisions were enacted to contain them. Hundreds of secret Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) camps may hold them. Martial law may authorize it, claiming "catastrophic emergency" conditions. Senators blew their cover calling America a "battleground."

During WW II, loyal Japanese Americans were lawlessly detained. Today, social justice protesters and others wanting change are at risk. Political Washington's targeting them to assure business as usual continues. Obama's fully on board.

On December 14, the House passed the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). On December 15, the Senate followed suit - ironically on Bill of Rights Day.

Obama will sign it into law. The measure ends constitutional protections for everyone, including US citizens. Specifically it targets due process and law enforcement powers.

With or without evidence, on issues of alleged terrorist connections posing national security threats, the Pentagon now supplants civilian authorities. It's well beyond its mandate...


The Politics of the Top 1 Percent

DECEMBER 14, 2011, 11:51 AM
The Politics of the Top 1 Percent

A flawed article with some insights and some flaws. ~Via

There is more in the study. Here, for example, is a taste of Page, Cook, and Moskowitz’s findings regarding philanthropy:

Although many of our respondents express skepticism about government programs, and although some explicitly say that private philanthropy offers a superior approach, there is no strong tendency for those who are most suspicious of government to do more in the way of charitable activity.

What are the political attitudes of the very wealthy? How, and how much, do they differ from the less wealthy? The combination of growing inequality, a weak economy, and Occupy Wall Street’s ability to focus political debate on inequality makes the answers to these questions particularly relevant.

One answer to these questions comes from a new analysis by Gallup that made the rounds last week. By aggregating 61 polls from 2009-2011, they were able to measure the opinions of about 400 respondents with annual incomes of $500,000 or above. Gallup reports only modest (really, 57 v 44% is not modest) differences in their party identification: 57 percent of the 1 percent identify as or lean Republican, compared to 44 percent of the 99 percent. There are virtually no differences in how they identify ideologically: 39 percent of the 1 percent identify as conservative, compared to 40 percent of the 99 percent.

But the Gallup analysis may overstate the similarity of the two groups. A second study, authored by the political scientists Benjamin Page, Fay Lomax Cook, and Rachel Moskowitz and recently released by the Russell Sage Foundation, found that the politics of the very wealthy are strikingly different.

Their study, which was part of a larger project called the Study of Economically Successful Americans and the Common Good, involved something unusual: a random sample of the rich. In particular, they interviewed 104 wealthy individuals in the Chicago area between February and June 2011. The sampling frame, constructed from various sources, was essentially the top 1 percent in terms of wealth (not income, as in the Gallup analysis). The response rate among the wealthy individuals they contacted was 37 percent, which may seem low on its face but is quite respectable by contemporary standards. The median wealth of this group was $7.5 million. (Of course, the broader project is surveying wealthy people nationwide, not only in Chicago.)

What did the survey find? For one, balance of party identification in this sample is very similar to what Gallup found: 58 percent of this sample identified as or lean Republican. In several other ways, however, the political behavior of the top 1 percent diverges more strongly from the 99 percent than Gallup’s analysis suggests.

The 1 percent cares more about deficits than the economy. When asked to name the most important problem facing the country, 32 percent of respondents said the deficit and 11 percent said the economy. By contrast, in an April 2011 CBS News/New York Times poll, 49 percent of Americans said the economy or jobs and only 5 percent said the deficit.

The 1 percent wants private-sector solutions, not government solutions. Among those who considered the deficit the most important problem, 65 percent favored spending cuts and 24 percent favored a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases. By contrast, a September 2011 New York Times/CBS News poll found that only 21 percent of respondents favored spending cuts exclusively. The majority (71 percent) favored spending cuts and tax increases.

The 1 percent is vastly more politically active. In the Chicago sample, 99 percent reported voting in 2008; in the 2008 American National Election Study, only 78 percent of a nationally representative sample reported voting. Both numbers are probably inflated – nowhere near 78 percent of Americans actually voted in 2008 — but it seems unlikely that misleading survey responses would fully account for the gap between the 1 percent and Americans as a whole. Other measures of participation show even larger gaps. For example, 41 percent of the very wealthy reported attending a political meeting. Only 9 percent of Americans did so in 2008. And 68 percent of the very wealthy reported giving money to a political candidate, party, or cause in the last four years. In 2008–a year in which “small donors” were numerous–only 13 percent of Americans donated to a political candidate or party. Again, there are small differences in the wording of the questions between the two surveys, but they are not likely responsible for the 55-point gap.

There is more in the study. Here, for example, is a taste of Page, Cook, and Moskowitz’s findings regarding philanthropy:

Although many of our respondents express skepticism about government programs, and although some explicitly say that private philanthropy offers a superior approach, there is no strong tendency for those who are most suspicious of government to do more in the way of charitable activity.

To be sure, this is very much a project in progress. But even these initial results, however unsurprising, are important. Other scholars have found that, when the attitudes of the wealthy and less wealthy diverge, policy is much more in line with the attitudes of the wealthy. The activism evident in the Chicago sample may explain why: they do much more to articulate their views to politicians. (Of course, politicians themselves are often in the 1 percent.) These inequalities in political voice may then give rise to policies that perpetuate unequal outcomes.

GOP ‘family values’ mayor admits he’s gay; misappropriated nearly $200K

GOP ‘family values’ mayor admits he’s gay

By David Edwards
Friday, December 16, 2011

Topics: gay adult store ♦ Greg Davis

A Republican mayor in Mississippi admitted this week that he was gay after an audit revealed that he spent taxpayer money at a gay adult store in Canada.

Greg Davis was elected as the mayor of Southaven in 1997 on a platform of conservative “family values,” but he says he recently realized that he was gay.

“At this point in my life and in my career, while I have tried to maintain separation between my personal and public life, it is obvious that this can no longer remain the case,” the mayor, now in his third term, told The Commercial Appeal.

“While I have performed my job as mayor, in my opinion, as a very conservative, progressive individual — and still continue to be a very conservative individual — I think that it is important that I discuss the struggles I have had over the last few years when I came to the realization that I am gay,” he added.

Davis claimed that he has already paid $96,000 of the of more than $170,000 in expenses that state officials allege he improperly billed the city for.

War on Drugs-My Comment to the NYT

Howard G New York
There's a cartoon from the New Yorker magazine which depicts two elderly women sitting at a kitchen table, chatting over some coffee and cake.

One woman is speaking to the other, and the caption reads:

"Lately I've been feeling lethargic, listless and apathetic, and if I stand up too suddenly, I get dizzy. My daughter says she has to smoke two joints to feel like that."

And for all those who insist that smoking pot is essentially harmless, consider this...

The guy who is repairing the brakes on your spouse's car had a joint after lunch.

The broker who is in charge of your portfolio likes share a joint or two with his colleagues to "take the edge off" during those pressure-filled trading days.

The woman who drives your children's school bus takes a few puffs on her coffee break - which is okay because getting high does not dull the senses the same way as having a few beers.

Debocracy the West Coast

Huh? You mean that some people who lobby for legalized drugs actually take them?


Try to think of it this way: Every legal drug transaction starves the government of Black Ops money.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Allen West Compares Democrats to Goebbels

  • By Ryan Teague Beckwith
  • Roll Call Staff
  • Dec. 15, 2011, 7:01 p.m.

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Freshman Rep. Allen West is stirring things up by comparing the Democratic Party to Nazis again.

In an interview with several reporters today, the Florida Republican blamed Democratic messaging for a recent poll that showed Americans blame the GOP more for Capitol Hill gridlock.

“If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine,” he said, according to the Washington Post. Goebbels was minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany.

This was not the first Nazi reference for West, who at times seems to be the Congressional example of Godwin’s law, an Internet adage that says that any conversation will eventually end with a reference to Adolf Hitler.

During his 2010 race, West compared a Democratic tracker who was taping his campaign appearances to “Gestapo-type intimidation tactics.” His campaign refused to apologize for the remark.

In a recent interview with the conservative magazine Newsmax, he said the Occupy Wall Street movement has ties to the American Nazi Party.

West’s comments today came in response to a question about a Pew Research poll that found that independents said Republicans are “more extreme” in their positions and “less honest and ethical” than Democrats.

Romney’s missing hard drives raise questions over government records

Romney’s missing hard drives raise questions over government records

This is a near-automatic post from other sites to my Blogger account. I intend to use this facility for fast-breaking news.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Those Greedy Federal Employees

I have wanted to write about the demonic mythology of the right about government workers, and have included some succinct summation of sources.

These are the comments that followed the article. Mr. hill-marty, whose avatar seems to indicate that he is radioactive and toxic, got many knowledgeable responses to his, “why don’t they leave?” snark. My response is at the bottom of the page.


2:46 PM PST

If feds are unhappy, why don't they leave? When federal employee turnover rates approach those for comparable private sector jobs, then we should talk about fed pay. Until then, it's all swamp gas, mostly generated by feds.


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2:54 PM PST

Oil speculation by the wealthy takes a bigger slice out of working class incomes that it does the income of the wealthy even if they only get 6-10mpg in their gold Rolls Royce’s and Bentleys. The entire $1,000~$1,500 payroll/social security tax “holiday” is wasted on paying higher gas prices while starving the social security benefit fund. Starving social security, government services and domestic infrastructure investment so the US oil industry can make another $900 billion in profit, as they h...See More


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3:00 PM PST

The Feds are not so un happy about the pay freeze and paying more for retirement, as much as the only ones getting the hatchet are the Federal Employees. Why doesn't Congress have to cut back on it's members spending? Why are they leasing a Lexus (at taxpayer expense) while a Focus would do? Why are the taxpayers paying for Congress personal living expenses anyway? Why are we paying for their mailing costs to get re-elected? That should be limited to 2 mail outs a year, not the weekly we g...See More

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4:00 PM PST

In some jobs (short order cook, cashier) turnover poses few problems. Elsewhere it does -- among traffic controllers, accountants, geologists, statisticians, and public health workers. So, let's see, what is it that federal workers do? Are they more often short order cooks or geologists? Do you really want high rates of turnover who do these things? If so, you are simply being cranky and perverse, not thoughtful.

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4:21 PM PST

Anyone who doesn't believe there is an assault on the middle class just has to watch the daily activities of the Republican party. They pander to their government -hating base by attacking federal workers in order to divert attention away from their own shortcomings

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4:43 PM PST

ExFed1: How true it is. What these people are not hearing about Federal Employees is the complete truth. I also agree with Linda45. One thing, by increasing the amount Feds pay in to their pension is not going to increase their retirement by one dime nor is it going to reduce the budget by one dime.

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5:29 PM PST

Sure, lets get those feds (FBI Agents, air traffic controllers, astronauts, mine safety inspectors, CIA personnel) to quit. Then when the American people don't have these safety nets and services, let's remind them how they loved screwing Federal employees, and cutting them out of Government. Wait until thousands die from food poisoning from China, Then we will see Americans crying to reinstate FDA employees. Republican stupidity endangers America. Experienced Federal employees ARE leaving now,...See More

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6:14 PM PST

Well, Marty, here's the deal. 
Governments should not be run like businesses. Their aims are completely different. Until people start to grasp this principle, we are all in the handbasket together, left and right both. 
Federal employee salaries exceeded those of the private sector for many years, because really, don't you want the most competent people working for the government? We have to have a government whether we like it or not in a nation of 300 Million people. 
The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 mandated that Federal Employee salaries be adjusted to conform to the those of the private sector. People like you want to change the rules under which they were hired and cut their benefits more? That's not a good idea. It pushes the best and the brightest in government out the door with a shovel. 
Way to go, righties.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Eliot Spitzer: 5 Ways to Make Banks Pay for Their Secret $7 Trillion Free Ride

Via: Alternet. The CEOs of major banks maintained they were in good financial shape. Meanwhile, they secretly borrowed massive amounts from the government to stay afloat.
December 1, 2011 |

Imagine you walked into a bank, applied for a personal line of credit, and filled out all the paperwork claiming to have no debts and an income of $200,000 per year. The bank, based on these representations, extended you the line of credit. Then, three years later, after fighting disclosure all the way, you were forced by a court to tell the truth: At the time you made the statements to the bank, you actually were unemployed, you had a $1 million mortgage on your house on which you had failed to make payments for six months, and you hadn’t paid even the minimum on your credit-card bills for three months. Do you think the bank would just say: Never mind, don’t worry about it? Of course not. Whether or not you had paid back the personal line of credit, three FBI agents would be at your door within hours.

Read more here.

If Business Were Run Like Government

I mostly love Ted Rall. He usually makes me laugh so hard that I make unladylike noises. This is one of those times.

Click here to see the cartoon

'via Blog this'