by baldilocks

I’m old enough to remember when I was called delusional by an alleged conservative for pointing this out. That happened in 2008.

But I’m certain that Don Surber was pointing it out back then also. Here he is in a well-earned I-told-you-so:

Barack Obama is a communist. Mild compared to Castro or Mao, but nevertheless a believer in state control of everything.

Electing a communist president was easy, although it took more than seven decades. While the steps were many — Stalin’s Soviet Union collapsed before achieving his goal — the major ones are obvious in hindsight.

The quest began after Stalin stole America’s nuclear bomb secrets. Roy Cohn prosecuted Stalin’s spies. We hanged them.

Stalin got revenge. He placed a big fat target on Cohn, who went to Washington to help Senator Joseph McCarthy ferret communists out of the Army and State Department.

Many people confuse this with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, which examined communism in Hollywood. Much ridiculed in the press (even conservatives mocked HUAC) look at Hollywood today and try to deny that communism lives on in America’s entertainment industry.

The elitists ripped McCarthy, called his quest for the truth a witch hunt, and made his name synonymous with the type of investigative fishing expedition Bobby Mueller has engaged in.

The net result was you no longer could call anyone a communist in America. Not even an actual communist. We call them liberal, progressive, socialist, and even Marxist, but never in polite society may we call them communists.

The downfall of McCarthy protected the communists in our federal government. We put one — John Brennan — as head of our CIA.

Indeed we did. I and many of my oldest and closest friends are also old enough to remember when open allegiance to communism was a huge disqualifier for any intelligence service position, much less DCI.

Don features Leftism’s takeover of most American churches and begins with my “favorite” trap: the (Lyndon Baines)

“Yeah, churches, Ah fooled yew, too!”

Johnson Amendment of 1950 – the political and, more importantly, the spiritual lure used to silence churches, at least the ones prone to engaging in wrong-think aka the undiluted Word of God.

What gets me sometimes is the failure of smart, capable and trained people to see the century-long pattern of infiltration, culminating with the election of hardcore Leftist Barack H. Obama. His rise was the result of the Organized Left’s patient effort to turn this country into the crown jewel of communist achievement. The Great Battle Won. But the Organized Left began the celebration too soon and got cocky. And now we are seeing the after-action reports that they couldn’t keep hidden. But they never did try to hide. Not really.

Many of us never did want to see. Still don’t.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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In a rather neck-snapping series of pronouncements, Marxism has moved to center stage in China.

On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a high-profile campaign lauding the importance of the German philosopher.

Communist Party newspapers hailed Das Kapital, Marx’s critique of capitalism, as “holy scripture.” State television aired a prime-time documentary and a talk show to celebrate the “greatest thinker of modern times.”

DaTech3.jpgIn a country that has used capitalism in theory to create an economic juggernaut, China was thought in recent years to have become socialist in name only, with little thought given to Marx.

The Wall Street Journal argued that the pro-Marx campaign may be an attempt “to persuade Chinese to keep faith with a Communist government that he [President Xi] says has employed Marx’s ideas to make China prosperous and powerful.”

Marx “lived honestly and simply, and valued affection and comradeship,” Xi said recently in a speech at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. He ordered party members to master Marxist theory as a “way of life” and “spiritual pursuit.”

“The posthumous cult of Marx these days serves to legitimize the present leadership and whatever it claims Marxism to be,” Daniel Leese, a China historian at Germany’s University of Freiburg, told The Journal. “And only Xi Jinping is said to be capable of synthesizing classical doctrine with present realities.”

At the party congress in October Xi declared a “new era” in Chinese socialism, a move seen as his bid to reshape the development model laid down 40 years ago by reformist leader Deng Xiaoping.

Chinese officials have long grappled with the contradictions of their state capitalism and professed Marxism. In the early 1990s, party officials and academics debated alternative political models and contemplated renaming the Communist Party to better reflect its tilt toward state-led capitalism.

The party didn’t change its name but has welcomed capitalists to join its ranks, experimented with political reforms to professionalize the civil service and allowed an expansion of civil society.

But President Xi seems determined to bring the party and the country back to its Communist roots. The campaign started in late April when Xi led his party’s governing Politburo in a study session focused on The Communist Manifesto, the 1848 political pamphlet written by Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels.

A propaganda blitz ensued. State media played up Marx’s purported contributions to China’s present-day prosperity. While the West descended into “a new era of uncertainty and instability,” China’s experience “eloquently proved that Marxism…has opened a pathway to the truth,” the party’s flagship newspaper, People’s Daily, said in a front-page commentary.

Peking University hosted a “World Congress on Marxism,” gathering more than 120 scholars from some 30 countries to discuss “Marxism and the Human Community of Shared Destiny”—a reference to Xi’s signature diplomatic slogan.

To reach younger Chinese, propaganda officials produced videos and comics that focused on Marx’s personality and appearance.

The party’s flagship theoretical journal, Seeking Truth, produced a short video titled “10 Little-Known Facts About Marx.” The video highlighted Marx’s Jewish background and his zodiac sign, Taurus, and explained that his iconic beard was fashionable for his time.

It’s unclear whether this fascination will have a lasting impact on China, but President Xi’s interest in reviving Marx seems more than a passing fancy.

by baldilocks

Or her.

Some entertainment to look forward to; and when I say entertainment, I mean war.

The White House anticipates a Democratic House will vote to impeach President Trump – but that his opponents won’t be able to muster the 67 Senate votes needed to throw him out of office.

Trump advisors in and outside the White House have begun speculating about scenarios months before voters even go to the polls for November elections that will be critical to what comes next for the Trump presidency.

If Democrats do take control of the chamber – which would fit traditional off-year patterns even as their edge in generic polls has narrowed in recent weeks – a far greater level of oversight and scrutiny is a certainty.

Impeachment also could follow, even as House leaders urge caution in speaking about it.

‘If we lose the House, it’s a given that they’ll try to get a vote to impeach,’ an outside Trump advisor told the Washington Examiner.

White House advisors expect impeachment to prevail in the House, according to the report.

Although a Democratic House could use its majority to vote to impeach Trump, essentially charging him with a high crime or misdemeanor, his fate would be determined by the Senate, where essentially a trial would occur.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi warned fellow lawmakers against their push for impeachment now, saying it could hurt the party’s chances of taking over.

I don’t think we should be talking about impeachment. I’ve been very clear right from the start,’ Pelosi told reporters last month.

Ms. Pelosi demonstrates a dim vestige of cunning, but we call all figure out what will happen if the Democrats regain the House, the Senate or both.

I thought about asking the rhetorical question: which high crime and/or misdemeanor? But then I remembered what Donald Trump’s true crime is in the eyes of the Organized Left: keeping Hillary R. Clinton from becoming President of the United States.

Certain quarters will never forgive DJT for that and that alone. They will continue to look for reasons — reasonable or not — to make him pay. Sad.

And dangerous.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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It’s difficult to find anyone in Chengdu, a laidback city in central China known for its pandas and spicy food, who doesn’t know where they were at 2:28 p.m. on May 12, 2008.

That’s when a massive earthquake, one of the worst ever in China, left 87,000 people dead, 370,000 injured, and five million people homeless in the Sichuan Province around Chengdu.

DaTech3.jpg

The earthquake happened during the school day. Substandard construction of the buildings resulted in thousands of children dying in what become known as “tofu schools” because they were so unstable and toppled during the earthquake.

The mountains around Sichuan rise more than three miles above the neighboring plains and about 40 miles from Chengdu. They form a wrinkle in the earth’s crust caused by the Indian and Eurasian plates pushing against each other. They’re the same forces that formed the Himalayas.

The towns most affected by 2008’s magnitude-8 earthquake—such as Beichuan, Wenchuan, and Mianzhu—were built near the Longmenshan Fault, a tear in the earth’s crust and a hotspot for quakes. The 2008 event shook buildings nearby for nearly two minutes and was felt 800 miles away in Beijing.

The disaster happened just as China was ready to host the Summer Olympics, a sort of coming-out party for the country.

Over the past decade, China worked to rebuild the homes and lives of those affected. Shiny new roads and sturdy buildings replaced the rubble. Displaced families found new homes. Bereaved parents gave birth to thousands of so-called “replacement children.” Earthquake warning systems were put in place throughout the country.

A nationwide initiative was launched to ensure safe primary and middle schools, injecting about $60 billion toward the goal of making schools safe.

Nevertheless, critics say the Chinese government, which they believe should be held accountable for the inferior buildings, have rejected fair compensation for those affected by the tragedy.

The misuse of money also created a huge credibility problem for the government. At one point, a Chinese celebrity’s photos flaunting her lavish lifestyle on social media became the catalyst for exposing the Red Cross Society’s mismanagement of the Sichuan relief funds.

The woman claimed to be working for a Red Cross subsidiary even as she regularly shared pictures of herself posing with luxury cars at upscale resorts and restaurants. After angry online readers dug into her personal life, it emerged that her boyfriend was a shareholder of an investment-holding group affiliated with the Red Cross.

Ultimately, a variety of people were convicted of embezzling funds. As a result of this scandal and others, Chinese remain reluctant to donate funds to charities.

Ten years later, the memories of what happened still loom large. A government desire to declare “thanksgiving” for what happened after the earthquake created a stir on the internet. Many wanted the victims to be remembered rather than what the government did after the earthquake. See DaTimes at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/10/world/asia/china-sichuan-earthquake-thanksgiving.html

For better and worse, the earthquake changed the region and the country and continues to do so even today.

by baldilocks

I can’t be the only one who noticed this.

This is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he testified in front of Congress about user data privacy some weeks back.

And this is former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman recently resigned from his office because:

 [Four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters] accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.

Look at their eyes.

Now, I’m not up on the latest in high-end drugs, so, maybe someone who is can help me figure out what these guys are on, if anything.

Or maybe those trillion-yard stares are evidence a different kind of pharmakeia (definition 3).

There are lots of conspiracy theorists out there who believe that the financial, political and entertainment “elite” subscribe to a spirituality other than that of the Holy Spirit in exchange for money, power and/or fame, and that could be so. After all, God gives His children gifts and the Devil lives ever to parody God. (I’m one of those far-out conspiracy theorists who suspects that 99.9% of politicians above your local dog-catcher is bought by some entity. And maybe only half the dog-catchers are clean.)

I don’t know. But I do know that I would not want to see eyes like that looking back at me – especially not from my pillow or my mirror.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Mount Everest. The name evokes thoughts of beauty, cold, danger, and many others.

I’m not entirely certain why I decided to trek to the base camp of Mount Everest. Maybe because it was there. Maybe because it scared me to try.

DaTech3.jpgMy journey hardly qualifies as dangerous, but it did involve nearly 40 hours of driving round trip from Lhasa, Tibet, along back-breaking roads. I subjected myself to altitude sickness, which causes the worst headaches almost anyone could ever have. Simple movements like walking over a stone roadway take long and calculated planning because the mind doesn’t snap quickly into even low gear.

The purpose may have been to engage in the journey. Mine included a band of two other Americans, who dabbled in real estate in Indianapolis; an Italian woman who sold insurance in Dubai; a South African man who built sports stadiums in the United States; two Malaysian businessmen; and a Vietnamese couple who worked with computers.

I can rarely talk openly in the United States about my support for Donald Trump, but the Indianapolis couple proudly announced their unconditional praise for the president. Talk about fellow travelers! One of the Malaysian businessmen couldn’t understand why the U.S. media spent so much time tearing down Trump.

The Vietnamese couple, who were in their 20s, wanted to hear about the war from an American perspective. Both were Catholics; she even referred to Ho Chi Minh City as “Saigon.”

The trip to Mount Everest starts with some training in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and home of the Dalai Lama. The Buddhist monks there decided long ago that their monasteries and temples should be built mostly on the top of hills to be closer to heaven. That means that one has to climb hundreds of stairs in a single day in what is generally considered the top of the world, with limited oxygen levels and occasional dizziness.

After two to three days, we start the journey to Mount Everest, climbing into even thinner atmospheric conditions.

The road from Lhasa to the Mount Everest base camp takes about 20 hours and is broken up into two days, with a stop at Xigaze, which is the second-largest city in Tibet.

On the second day, we arrive at the base camp just before sunset. At just about 19,000 feet above sea level, or nearly four times the elevation of Denver, Colorado, I have to think carefully about simple actions like putting one foot in front of the other.

According to history.com, almost no wildlife is found near here, the point at which permanent snow prevents even the hardiest lichens and mosses from growing.

Two of our group feel ill. Ironically, younger people tend to get sick more frequently than older people. At 66, I am one of the few seniors among roughly 200 who have made the trek.

The view is spectacular as the summit of Mount Everest shoots up to more than 29,000 feet above sea level.

The tent is much larger than I expected, accommodating the six remaining members of our crew. Four others had gone on a separate caravan to Nepal.

The tent is decorated in Tibetan colors, with a small fire of yak dung to keep up warm in the 20-degree weather. I didn’t sleep particularly well. But my insomnia was rewarded by a wonderful view of Everest during a full moon.

The unforgettable journey, including the remarkable band of companions, was well worth it!

A young Vietnamese man pulled out his phone and asked me if I knew about what was happening in Korea.

He passed the device to me where the presidents of North Korea and South Korea were meeting on the border between the two countries.

“I feel a lot safer now than I did a few minutes ago,” he told me in Lhasa, Tibet.

DaTech3.jpgFor many people, North Korean President Kim Jong-un is like the crazy uncle who you only see during the holidays. But many like the young Vietnamese man, Kim has loomed over the safety of the region.

Ironically, the Chinese press has spent little time talking about what other countries have labelled an important breakthrough.

In fact, Xinhua, the official government news agency, put the conclusion of a regional government conference as the lead story, with Korea down the list of news events. That story reported on the elimination of loudspeakers spouting propaganda from South Korea along the border, with a note that the Chinese foreign minister plans a visit to North Korea.

More important, The South China Morning Post, a somewhat independent news organization in Hong Kong, posed an awkward headline: “China could be excluded from peace talks.”

Zhang Liangui, a specialist on Korea at the Central Party School, which trains Communist Party officials, said Beijing’s policy on North Korea in recent years could see it excluded from the peace process.

“The stance of China’s foreign ministry has been that [the North Korean nuclear crisis] is none of its business and that North Korea and the U.S. should be communicating directly,” Zhang told The Post. “So now things are out of China’s control, and it is no surprise that it is being excluded from the discussions.”

A senior diplomat in Seoul told The South China Morning Post that both Koreas wanted to dilute Beijing’s influence over the peninsula.

It’s rather ironic since the Korean War was essentially a battle between China and the United States for influence in the region. Moreover, China was a signatory to the armistice that ended the war in 1953.

Whatever the case, those who live near North Korea breathed a significant sigh of relief when the two sides of the Korean conflict met for the first time in more than a decade.

Don’t ask me, Bill. These are your people.

by baldilocks

Shakespeare wept

And in other news regarding the downfall of the UK

Schools are removing analogue clocks from examination halls because teenagers are unable to tell the time, a head teachers’ union has said.

Teachers are now installing digital devices after pupils sitting their GCSE and A-level exams complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analogue clock.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said youngsters have become accustomed to using digital devices.

“They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer. Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”

Mr Trobe, a former headmaster, said that teachers want their students to feel as relaxed as possible during exams. Having a traditional clock in the room could be a cause of unnecessary stress, he added.

He said that schools are trying to make everything as “as easy and straightforward as possible” for pupils during their exams.

“You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left,” he said.

“Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the can be. There is actually a big advantage in using digital clocks in exam rooms because it is much less easy to mistake a time on a digital clock when you are working against time.”

Emphasis mine.

Additionally, British schoolchildren are having trouble holding writing implements, aka pens and pencils – a result of over dependence on iPads and whatnot.

In fairness, I can bet that many Americans younger than 40 are also unable to read a face clock. Both here and in the UK, there’s a singular reason for this: the previous generation of parents failed to teach this formerly mundane skill.

One envisions a dismal future headline if digital toilet paper is in the invention hopper.

Besides, the murder of Alfie Evans at hands of the UK government has already indicated what time it is. But it’s certain that many can’t determine that either, which is just how that government wants it.

Hunters like their prey to be relaxed. And the US is far from immune from this sport.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

Today I was interviewed by Chris Levels, who host a BlogTalkRadio show four days a week called Politics and Prophecy.   It was the second time that Chris invited me to his show, the second time that one of us had equipment failure, and the second time that I was one longer that scheduled. It’s as if the invisible supernatural war springs to the surface a little every time I’m on. I like that.

Whenever I do these things I feel as though I’m babbling, however. I used to try to prepare for them, but it makes things worse because I end up reading, and, therefore, sounding stilted. I’ve done a couple of them for Fausta back when she had a show but I refuse to listen to them. I’ve calmed done a lot since then.

Chris brought up several interesting topics and one made me crack up laughing, though it is far from funny. My laughter was in response to this story about the Southern Poverty Law Center. Because irony is funny.

If its balance sheet is any indication, Donald Trump’s presidency has been very good for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC’s already impressive endowment grew a staggering 35 percent in fiscal year 2017 to more than $432 million. Including operating funds, total assets topped $477 million as of October 31, 2017. Total revenues and gains in fiscal 2017 exceeded $180 million, more than triple the organization’s expenses for the year, of just under $60 million.

The SPLC has long been considered a fundraising powerhouse, but 2017’s take was mind boggling by any standard. Donations were up 164 percent over 2016: The group took in $132 million between November 2016 and October 2017, compared with $50 million in the preceding 12 months.

While direct contributions produced the lion’s share of the 2017 increase, a booming stock market led to astounding growth in the SPLC’s investment portfolio. In fiscal 2016, unrealized gains came to less than $1 million; a year later they totaled nearly $45 million.

The SPLC, whose website touts its mission as “seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society,” drew fire last year because it keeps nearly $70 million in foreign investments in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda, as reported by THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Non-U.S. investments this year are closing in on $100 million, totaling a little more than $92.5 million as of October 31, 2017.

And peep these salaries!

Despite the 2017 windfall, salaries of top SPLC officials and executives were roughly the same or in some cases even lower than the year before. Richard Cohen, the group’s president and CEO, and Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial counsel, each earned around $400,000 both years. Compensation for other top officials ranged from about $150,000 to $260,000.

Down, covetous streak! Down!

I wondered aloud to Chris about having a tenth of that. But, aside from the off-shore investments, who can blame the SPLC if like-minded entities want to keep it afloat? (Afloat might be understating the matter, yes.)

And I bet they don’t even see the hypocrisy in keeping the word poverty in the organization’s name. After all, it takes money to remain Down for the Struggle!TM

However, if ideologues put their money where their ideology is, what does that say about the Right?

What does that say about you, loyal readers?

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Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

Did Chinese President Xi Jinping just blink in trade war stand-off with US?

That exact headline comes from The South China Morning Post, a leading news organization in Hong Kong.

I guess the U.S. media mavens who screamed about the dumb move Trump made against China had already turned their attention to the next round of bashing the president.

Why analyze some important information when you can focus on the salacious statements of a hooker and an FBI hack?

As The South China Morning Post reports:

In his keynote speech at the [economic meeting of the] Boao Forum for Asia—his first to a foreign audience since starting a second term as leader—Xi pledged to open China’s doors ‘wider and wider’ to the world.

The most notable pledges were the easing of foreign ownership limits in the financial and automotive industries, lower tariffs on imported cars, and improved protection for intellectual property rights.

The next day, China’s central bank unveiled a slew of measures to open up its financial sector to foreign investment, including the removal of foreign ownership caps for banks, as Beijing tried to paint itself as an open economy and a key backer of free trade and globalization.

At the beginning of a two-month stay in China, I visited Chengdu, which most people know as the home base for many of the cuddly pandas. But the city is also the home of one of the largest plants that produces Apple products. It is a massive site, where an estimated 100,000 people work.

The plant is owned and operated by Foxconn, which is the largest, private employer in mainland China with about 1.4 million workers. Ironically, the company is actually based in Taiwan, but it is so good at what it does that the mainland government tends to look the other way.

For more on FoxConn, see https://www.recode.net/2015/4/6/11561130/where-apple-products-are-born-a-rare-glimpse-inside-foxconns-factory

But consider this: What if President Trump decided to hit the Apple and FoxConn operations—as well as others like them that ship electronic goods the United States—with significant tariffs? At least, President Xi may not rule out that possibility.

Even though American consumers may complain about price increases on myriad products, the Chinese president knows a trade war would hurt his country a lot more than the United States.

A final note: My complaints about Facebook have nothing to do with privacy. My bone to pick is how the company has ruined any recognition of proper punctuation.

FB puts a period outside of every quotation mark, such as “I like you”.

That’s all right if you’re in the United Kingdom but not in the United States.

I spend countless hours correcting students’ misuse of punctuation in my classes, which is a product of a poor educational system that fails to recognize rules of a grammar and Facebook. Just sayin’.