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Bernardo de La Paz

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Member since: Fri Jul 16, 2004, 11:36 PM
Number of posts: 11,817

About Me

Lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Left a piece of my heart there.

Journal Archives

To other posters in this thread: before high tech gadgetry get rid of ticket quotas.

Devise other means to measure law enforcement activity than ticket quotas.

Get rid of civil forfeiture. Fundamentally it is ass-backwards to make police forces into revenue agents and to make police forces depend on revenue generation for funding.

But, of course, this is the result of Republican strangulation of government services while at the same time out of the other side of their mouth they are piously saying platitudes about "respect for law and order" and "support our police".

Further, demand accountability from leadership on down, but heaviest on the leadership. Fire chiefs and deputy chiefs if people die for the wrong reasons (police die or black people die or anybody dies from lack of training or greed or whatever).

Use existing tech well: body cams & car cams (front, back, and wide angle) on all the time on duty, no ability to switch off. A malfunctioning body cam means return to station to get fitted with a functioning one just like a radio malfunction or vehicle failure. With regard to privacy issues, independent bodies can review footage for release whenever it is requested (like after incidents) so that sensitivity can be shown (child custody, domestic disturbances, etc.).

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Jul 10, 2016, 02:23 PM (0 replies)

Islamophobia is a proxy for Anti-Semitism, since Arabs and Jews are both 'Semites'.

It is more difficult to be overtly against Jews in the US these days, just like it is more difficult to be overtly against african-Americans these days, compared to, say, 60 years ago.

However, it is there, below the surface, and stronger in some segments of the population.

Guess which segments are simultaneously less sensitive to anti-semitism, less respectful of Obama's heritage, less respectful of Jews, and overtly Islamophobic?
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Mon Jul 4, 2016, 06:35 AM (0 replies)

No. Canadians know ten times as much about US as Americans know about Canada.

US cultural imperialism dominates Canadian media, so there are regulations to protect Canadian content. Thus Canada has a thriving music scene.

Canadian news hears about the US election most nights. Most US residents are rarely informed about Canadian politics by US media, since the USA tends to be arrogant and inward-looking. If there were not adults like Obama and (with a touch of luck and GOTV) Hillary Clinton in charge, then Canada-US relations would be badly damaged much like if an elephant blundered around a tiger trapped in a cage with it.

Remember that the USA has a population ten times the size of Canada and an economy at least ten times larger.

But also remember that the USA is only as strong as it is because it has a very friendly polite neighbor and stalwart ally to trade with and be its largest trading partner. Not only that, but the trade relationship is the world's largest.

The Members of Parliament chanted that as the friendliest of jokes because they are also aware that the right wing in the USA has been fomenting lots of conspiracy theories that Obama is a "homosexual marxist Kenyan dictator" who will stage a coup to over-turn the US election system term limit and rule for a third and fourth term as a dictator.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Thu Jun 30, 2016, 12:56 AM (2 replies)

No term limits, but also no fixed terms. Governments can fall at any time, so no Nixons either.

Justin Trudeau's father Pierre Trudeau was prime minister for 15 years, 164 days, winning four elections (3 majority and 1 minority). He served 1968–1979 and 1980–1984.

If a government loses a "vote of confidence" in the House of Commons, then either the opposition will be given a chance to form a government (possibly a coalition) or an election will be called. The latter is almost always the case.

Regardless, there must be an election no longer than 5 years after the last one. Election campaigns are short. The longest one in modern times was 11 weeks and campaigns of 6 weeks are more typical.

If a minority government cannot convince enough opposition Members of Parliament to support them, for example for a budget vote, then the opposition has the right to call for a vote of confidence which the government will lose.

This tends to make for cooperative governance, unless a party wins a clear majority of seats. Even then an autocratic prime minister can be voted out mid-term by their own party or members might even join the opposition in a vote of "no confidence" to bring down the government and force an election.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Thu Jun 30, 2016, 12:39 AM (1 replies)

Globalization is not the problem. Low wages, shitty jobs, & wealth inequality are the problems

A lot (not all or necessarily most of course but a lot) of the people railing, tweeting, and posting against the dreaded "globalization" are doing so on the WORLD WIDE Web with their MADE IN CHINA phones built from AFRICAN metals using USA engineering and apps developed in part in EUROPE. And that is only one example of many. That's GLOBALIZATION. It's not a problem.

Even "exporting" jobs is not a problem. Nobody here wants to be paid to recycle the materials in their precious phones that they replace every year or two while we wait for robots to get good enough to do it.

Even "exporting" manufacturing jobs is not problem. The sooner developing countries develop a robust middle class, the sooner there will be democracy in places like China and the sooner war becomes unimaginable to those people around the world.

The problem is low wages here. Raise the minimum wage. Increase education so that people can get better jobs. Invest in innovative NON_REPUBLICAN industries like solar power like Europe is investing in. Invest in high speed rail. Invest in elder care. Invest in replacing crumbling infrastructure.

Look to what the Democratic Governor is doing in California and contrast it with Republican Kansas.

Another part of the problem is wealth inequality. Close off-shore tax loopholes. If it means higher taxes for the 10% / 1%, go for it. Make sure they pay for the education and infrastructure that they suck dry.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Tue Jun 28, 2016, 06:18 PM (4 replies)

The problem is not globalism, the problem is wealth inequality and income inequality.

Along with that and "part and parcel" with it is low wages and bad working conditions.

I do not begrudge low wage jobs moving out of the country to advance middle classes elsewhere.

The sooner there are healthy middle classes in every country, the more war becomes unimaginable to the majority of the public and the healthier the world and the population of the world will be.

The problem is not that the iPhones and iPads of the people complaining about globalism are made in China and Vietnam. The problem is that the minimum wage in the US is ridiculously low.

When you have a robust working poor who can make a decent wage to live a decent (if a bit hard) life and provide a future for their children with health care, then you have a strong base for the nation.

But there is too much wealth at the top in the 1% and the 0.1% and the 0.01%. That wealth is invested offshore and dodges taxes and does not pay its fair share of the load.

There are NOT only three models that are all forms of authoritarianism.

The California model, the Canadian model, and the Scandinavian models do very well. Look there. That's what we got. Lots of options.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sat Jun 25, 2016, 03:02 PM (0 replies)

Trump has been a pig in Scotland, crushing people all around


He’ll Take the Low Road: Trump’s Tortured History With Scotland

Though he’s now on the outs with the government and people, the mogul spent years trying to win over his mother’s homeland.

But Trump’s gnashing of teeth about the supposed environmental damage from the wind farm rang rather hollow, given that his resort had been built on theretofore-protected dunes. Meanwhile, it was becoming clear that the 6,000 jobs he’d promised as part of the project weren’t about to materialize—there were just 200 by the summer of 2013.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Wed May 11, 2016, 12:11 PM (0 replies)

Links. Try to be progressive. There is no sarcasm about this. People's lives are at stake.

Housing First: get the homeless housing and then all the other problems become more tractable.

Medicine Hat: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/a-city-in-canada-tried-giving-free-housing-to-the-homeless-and-its-working/

Thankfully, Canada has been relatively accepting of the Housing First initiative in places other than Medicine Hat. Six other cities in Alberta, including major cities Edmonton and Calgary, have taken a Housing First approach, and have seen a 16 per cent overall drop in homelessness since 2008 as a result. In Vancouver — a city notorious for its rapidly increasing homeless population in the 1990s and early 2000s — hundreds of homeless people have been put into permanent homes, though the city still has much work to do in this respect. The federal government has also devoted itself to a Housing First plan until at least 2019.

Other countries have followed suit, with the Obama administration listing the method as a best practice for eliminating chronic homelessness, and Finland and France both instituting similar measures.

Medicine Hat: http://www.mhchs.ca/
Medicine Hat: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/15/medicine-hat-homeless_n_5332531.html

Until recently, Clugston was on the other side of the debate about how to end homelessness. He spent six years on council before becoming mayor late last year. “When I first got elected on council I was a bit of a cowboy, and I was actually speaking against a lot of these projects. I was one of their biggest detractors,” he said. But Clugston said the members of the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society spent six years making a convert out of him.

“And now I’ve become their advocate and have to admit it’s the right thing to do, it’s the moral thing to do. And it makes sense financially,” he said.

“If you can get somebody off the street, it saves the emergency room visits, it saves the police, it saves the justice system — and so when you add up all those extra costs … you can buy a lot of housing for that amount of money.”

And once people are housed, it’s easier for support workers to help them with a co-ordinated delivery of social services to address issues such as substance abuse and mental health problems, Clugston said.

Utah: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/22/home-free

It may seem surprising that a solidly conservative state like Utah has embraced an apparently bleeding-heart approach like giving homeless people homes. But in fact Housing First has become the rule in hundreds of cities around the country, in states both red and blue. And while the Obama Administration has put a lot of weight (and money) behind these efforts, the original impetus for them on a national scale came from the Bush Administration’s homelessness czar Philip Mangano. Indeed, the fight against homelessness has genuine bipartisan support.

Almost free housing in San Francisco ($375 avg): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Housing_Partnership

Still think it is a stupid idea worthy of a sarcasm tag?

Or is it a progressive idea proven to work that is worthy of more serious consideration than you are willing to give it?
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Fri Apr 15, 2016, 03:13 PM (1 replies)

+1. Time invested writing a good video summary is a good investment for many reasons

1) Efficiency: When a poster takes 2 minutes to write a couple of paragraphs summarizing the video it saves hundreds of people minutes of time which multiply out to hours. Two minutes to gain hours for others is a good expenditure of time.

2) It takes a lot more time to evaluate a video than the seconds it takes to read a summary. It often takes a few minutes or at least a minute to get a sense of where the video is going and how it is going to make its points. If a person would prefer a documentary approach, they will switch off a rant after a minute or so. But that is a minute lost and when you consider hundreds of viewers that is a lot of time wasted.

3) Most people will not invest 30 minutes to watch a 30 minute video when they can read the summary.

4) If the video is any good, then a decent summary will actually convince more people to invest time watching.

5) If the poster can't be bothered to write a couple of informative paragraphs, then I almost always skip over the video. It certainly didn't inspire the poster so I have little expectation it would inspire me.

6) Not all DU members are perfectly able. Some can't see or can't see well and might use talking browsers. Others can't hear.

7) Reading (and skimming) is very efficient compared to video.

8) Video is very time consuming compared to reading. Time yourself reading a newspaper article. Then time yourself speaking it out loud.

9) There may be a bridgeable generation gap. More seasoned DU members (older members) are not as used to or as demanding for videos for their information. Post a good summary along with the video and you reach everybody: vid fans, readers, deaf, and visually impaired.

10) Even so, there are some times when images and moving images inform people in depth better or more efficiently than a written word. Or when an experience is as important as the information. If that is the case for the video, make the case!
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Fri Apr 15, 2016, 12:06 PM (0 replies)

Wherever homeless are giving FREE HOUSING, overall costs go down a lot.

This has been proven multiple times.

What is the biggest barrier to getting a job: having an address and having a place to live, to shower, to rest. Give people a place to live and a large number (half?) end up getting jobs and paying for their own place to live.

You save tax dollars for fewer emergency room visits, fewer police interactions, less crime against and by homeless people, less court costs, less mental health care, better nutrition, longer lives, more productivity, less wasted education dollars, ....

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/08/13/housing-first-federal-election_n_7949510.html . . . Excerpt:

The principles of Housing First are not new. It began in New York City in the '90s with Greek-Canadian psychologist Sam Tsemberis. He kept seeing the same patients over and over while doing mental health outreach, and asked them what they needed most. The answer was blindingly obvious — a place to live. So he founded Pathways to Housing based on a theory that would later become known as Housing First.

"He said, 'Why don't we try getting these people into apartments, regular apartments, provide them the psychiatric medical and mental health support that they need and see if it works?' And it did," explains Richter. "It's taken off from there."

It's also become a bipartisan success story because you can help people and save money doing it. The political right has taken the lead on growing the program. George W. Bush's administration picked it up first, bringing it into the mainstream. The man Bush appointed to head up his efforts to combat homelessness Philip Mangano put Tsemberis’s housing first theory into nationwide practice and the result was that the "chronically homeless" fell 30 per cent between 2005 and 2007.

The Great Recession hit in 2008, but chronic homelessness fell an additional 21 per cent because Obama picked up the Housing First baton, first with the $1.5 billion stimulus-based Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program and then as the centerpiece of his "Opening Doors" plan. A 2015 update reconfirmed that Housing First "is the solution" and declared chronic homelessness would be eliminated in the U.S. by 2017 and that youth and family homelessness was on track to be ended by 2020.

Homelessness in Utah has fallen 91 per cent since launching its Housing First program in 2005. State housing director Gordon Walker told the Desert News in April that "the remaining balance is 178 people. We know them by name, who they are and what their needs are." To further assist the no-longer-homeless, Utah recently started a pilot program to expunge minor crimes from their records to facilitate finding employment.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Mon Apr 4, 2016, 07:13 AM (1 replies)
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