Saturday, December 18, 2021

Want good teachers, raise teachers' salaries

 The Kansas City Star reported yesterday that Dianne O’Bryan, a teacher at Blue Valley, Kansas, felt fed up with angry parents and held a speech that was posted and attracted much interest on social media. It said, addressing parents:

"Teachers, counselors are burdened with so much more than they ever have been. Inside the entire system, there’s so much work that needs to be done for kids right now. And then to have communities coming at schools with such negativity, I’m worried we’re going to be losing some wonderful people... For those angry, highly critical, accusatory parents in our district, please know that you’re a major contributing factor to teachers leaving,” O’Bryan said. “You have a choice to be angry, but we also have a choice to leave... The negativity surrounding schools is toxic... We are not teaching critical race theory in our schools. We are, however, working hard to make sure that our students feel safe, welcome, understood and valued. For some, this focus on diversity, equity and inclusion may be uncomfortable. But it is necessary."

In other words, the lady denies that US schools are teaching critical race theory (which they are doing), and tells parents to be fine with "focus on diversity, equity and inclusion", i.e. bullying white children for being white, or else more teachers would leave.

That's the result of chronically low salaries of teachers: payroll of schools fills with losers such as Ms. O'Bryan for whom the only compensation for being underpaid and overworked is the feeling of power that comes from indoctrinating the children they are presumed to educate.

The solution: raise teachers' salaries, hire reasonable young teachers, and good riddance to the "wonderful people" like Ms. O'Bryan and her ilk!

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Antivaxxer insanity

 When the coronavirus pandemic first strick the world, some commented that at least it would make antivaxxers shut up, because the scary world of lockdowns, restrictions and ever-climbing death toll was a demo version of a world without vaccines. Unfortunately, the prediction was too optimistic. Good vaccines were developed and tested in record time, but antivaxxers launched a massive attack against them. Conspiracy theorists concocted narratives that vaccines were meant to track their recipients, some minorities imagined that the immunization campaign was a plot to make them sterile, and right-wingers, instead of celebrating the vaccines as the achievement of Western civilization they are, embraced the "freedom" to stay unvaccinated, and turned it into a cause celebre.

As in previous cases of mass psychosis sweeping societies, the current one is most blatantly manifested in some individuals with underlying mental illness. Below, I am copying from an Oct. 6 Baltimore Sun report:

"Maryland man allegedly fatally shot his pharmacist brother for ‘killing people’ with the COVID vaccine, court records show 

Jessica Anderson

A Cumberland man allegedly killed his brother and sister-in-law in their Ellicott City home last week because his brother, a pharmacist, administered COVID-19 vaccines, according to charging documents filed Wednesday in a Howard County court.

Jeffrey Burnham told his mother he had to confront his older brother, Brian Robinette, because he was poisoning people by administering the COVID-19 vaccine, telling his mother, “Brian knows something,” according to the new charging documents filed against Burnham.

Burnham is being held without bond in Allegany County, where he is charged with stabbing Rebecca Reynolds, 83, to death inside her Cumberland home on Sept. 29. Police said he took her car and fled to Ellicott City, where a day later he killed Robinette, 58, and his wife Kelly Sue Robinette, 57. He faces first and second-degree murder charges in the couples’ deaths...

According to the charging documents filed against Burnham related to the Howard County murders, Burnham told another unnamed person that his brother was “killing people with the COVID shot.”

Burnham’s mother Evelyn Burnham previously expressed concerns about her younger son’s mental health...

Evelyn Burnham called police again Sept. 30, concerned about her son’s talk of “Becky’s car,” referring to Reynolds, a friend of hers since childhood. Police have said Burnham stole Reynolds’ Lincoln and drove to Ellicott City.

Reynolds was found dead inside her home with a deep laceration across her throat and a pillow over her face...

The Robinettes were found fatally shot in an upstairs bedroom in their home on Kerger Road..."

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Amnesty International leaves Alexei Navalny to rot

 Alexei Navalny is the long-time leader of Russian opposition. Because the Russian dictator Putin tolerates no opposition, there has been a long record of various attacks against Navalny, his famiy members (e.g. his brother has served a prison sentence), and his supporters. Last year, Mr. Navalny narrowly survived a poisoning attempt, and was treated in Germany for months. The doctor who gave him first aid in the city of Omsk and most likely saved his life has meanwhile died, the death attributed to a heart attack. Alexei Navalny eventually returned to Russia, was immediately arrested, and has already been convicted to 3.5 years in prison on made-up charges.

Amnesty International initially gave Mr. Navalny a "prisoner of conscience" status, but has now revoked it because of unspecified "comments he made in the past" that "reach the threshold of advocacy of hatred". These comments have not been specified, but are supposedly from speeches against immigration, especially illegal immigration, held more than a decade ago.

Alexander Golovach, a supporter of Navalny who had been declared prisoner of conscience in 2018, has now renounced this status to protest.

Details e.g. here.

Update: I have just shared this news with my husband, who follows closely the situation in Russia (I have no nerve for this). His comment: "I can tell you that Putin is great. His tentacles are everywhere, see how far they reach!"

Update 2: Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of Britain's Foreign Affairs Select Committee, made a spot-on comment: “If Amnesty will only call out the persecution of saints, they’re siding with tyrants. The prisons will be full and they will stay silent as ordinary, flawed human beings are persecuted for crimes of conscience.” Read the whole report by Robert Oliphant at the Telegraph.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Bad omen for the new US presidency

 The text below is copied from Hernando Sun.

Fact Check: 2020 Lie of the Year

Rocco Maglio,01/08/2021


...When the New York Post broke the story of the Hunter Biden laptop and emails which implied influence-peddling on the part of Joe Biden while Vice President,  a letter was circulated that was signed by more than 50 former senior intelligence officials. The letter was signed by Jim Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence, three Former Directors of the CIA (Mike Hayden, Leon Panetta, John Brennan), Michael Morell, Former Acting Director of the CIA, and many former leaders of intelligence agencies. This letter was reported by Politico journalist Natasha Bertrand to state that the Hunter Biden laptop story was a Russian disinformation operation. Disinformation means the information was false.

After the election former CIA senior operations officer, Marc Polymeropoulos told the National Review that he and former acting CIA director Michael Morell (name has been floated as a possible Biden CIA director pick) basically wrote the letter. "Polymeropoulos stressed, however, that the letter was not intended to question whether the Hunter Biden materials were authentic, but rather to raise the possibility that the Russians were trying to interfere in the presidential election by helping in some way to bring the information to the attention of the press."

“We talk about how this is a Russian information operation, it’s not disinformation,” he stated. “And that’s an important nuance to me as a former intelligence officer. It might not be for the rest of the public, or for people on the right, or the left, or wherever, who would criticize the letter, but it is an important nuance. Because we did not say it was Russian disinformation, we said it was a Russian information operation.”

The letter by the former intelligence leaders does not explicitly state that the Hunter Biden story was Russian disinformation, but it talks about the Hunter Biden story being a Russian information campaign and then goes into depth about Russian disinformation. The letter was crafted in such a way to imply that the Hunter Biden story was Russian disinformation and therefore these intelligence leaders were saying the story was false.  

The legacy media and big tech repeatedly claimed that the letter stated that the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation. There is no reporting of the authors of the letters or any of the signatories ever attempting to correct the reporting by pointing out that they were only claiming that it was a Russian information operation. None of the "journalists" reporting on the story contacted any of the 50+ named intelligence leaders to clear up the confusion...  

The claim that intelligence leaders claimed that this was Russian disinformation had a real effect. Twitter locked the New York Post (5th largest newspaper in America) out of their Twitter account for 16 days because they refused to delete their article spreading "Russian Disinformation."  Many of the social media platforms censored the story or inhibited their users' ability to spread the story. The network news refused to cover the story because it was Russian disinformation. The blackout was so complete that polling has shown that many Biden voters were unaware of the whole story or aspects of the story including the FBI investigation.

The reason that the emails and laptop could not be disavowed or called disinformation is that Hunter Biden himself dropped off the laptop and did not return to pick it up, so it became the property of the computer shop. The owner gave the laptop to the FBI but made an image of the disk. He then provided a copy of the disk to the Trump campaign. The emails on the laptop were from Gmail so they contained a digital signature verifying their contents had not changed and that they had been sent through Gmail to the recipients.  

This letter by these intelligence officials was used by the media as justification for not covering the story since it was Russian disinformation. The letter was reported many times as claiming Russian disinformation and no one ever corrected that mischaracterization.

The claim that this was a Russian information operation is interesting since it implies that the President of the United States and his allies do not have the ability to spread a story about potential corruption by his opponent Joe Biden in the US.  The story of this corruption by one of two major candidates for presidents could only be publicized with the help of Russians.

The former intelligence officers knew that by calling it a Russian information operation and then talking about Russian disinformation that the story would be reported as a Russian disinformation operation since that is the term that has been used to refer to the Clinton Emails. If the story was called Russian disinformation then it could be censored by the media and Big Tech since disinformation means it is false.

The leaders of the intelligence community misleading the corporate media and public to prevent the investigation of allegations of corruption against their preferred candidate is what happens in failed totalitarian states, not healthy democracies. The members of corporate media were not innocent bystanders as they did not want to report this story and used the letter as a means of ignoring the story. This was a disinformation campaign run against the American people by intelligence leaders who are going to be in power during the Biden administration. This is why the intelligence leaders misleading the public through our willing media that the Hunter Biden story was Russian disinformation is our lie of the year.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Petition for release of young female Iranian prisoner of conscience


I have just signed a petition of Amnesty International for the release of 24-year-old Yasaman Aryani (shown in the photo). Like many other valiant Iranian women, Yasaman has been imprisoned for protesting against the laws mandating headscarves, and refusing to wear one. She was first arrested in August 2018, sentenced to one year, released in February 2019, then arrested again next month and sentenced to 16 years, together with her mother.


Sunday, August 23, 2020

University admission must be merit-based

 The US Department of Justice has found what has been common knowledge for decades, namely, that US universities discriminate against white and especially Asian-American candidate students, holding them to a higher standard. Because of the consistently higher academic achievements of these two groups, to prevent them from becoming over-represented in the student body, higher test scores are required from them than from students coming from groups with traditionally lower academic performance. To motivate the rejection of academically excellent Asian-American applicants, they are given lower scores in the "personality" assessment. To me, all this is textbook racism, yet it is defended as struggle against "systemic racism", whatever this is to mean.


I find this system mind-boggling. In my country, elite universities recruit their students by anonymous written examinations (high school grades are also taken into account, but are given less importance, because it is known that many bad schools grade their students generously). Gender quotas are used for all prestigeous study fields that would otherwise become feminized, but there are no racial or ethnic quotas. So we have proportionally fewer minority students, but the ones that make it into (and out of) the university are as good as those from the majority. My experience shows that this system works well. I'd recommend it to everyone (and I think it would be even better without the gender quotas). At least public universities, and also private ones if they use public funds, should not be allowed to discriminate based on race, ethnicity, personality traits, or any other non-academic criteria.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Ten years

Ten years ago, my brother died. I still miss him terribly. You cannot stop loving someone just because he has died. I still do not feel at home in the world devoid of him. Because it is a damaged version of what it had to be. My brother was of those people who make the world better. And there is still a void at the place of the life he had to live, the love he had to give in the years to come, and of all the nice things he would do.