Monday, September 19, 2016

Fundamental Arguments with 3 Netizens

   I am in the middle of three arguments on the internet, one defending a netizen friend offended by a truck driver with a confederate flag on the back of the pick-up. Another was an IM with a friend who defended a Clinton presidency over a Trump. The morning on-line started with a comment from a Facebook “friend” whose lint I picked up after joining a Facebook group; he didn’t like my blaming Middle World violence on US imperialistic designs

     To the netizen friend who was offended by seeing a confederate flag on the back of a passing pick-up truck, I said let the air out of his tires. Some troll called it ‘violent’. I then said move his windshield wipers and the fool accused me of editing my comment?!
I said, “Direct action gets satisfaction. Find out where he lives and let the air out of his tires. Letting air out of a tire, or a person with a weak argument, is not violence. Okay, maybe just lift his windshield wipers will send a message that he has to fear for the consequences of his actions. Racism is wrong and he doesn't have the right to promote it. Sure. Come out into the open where we can see you, but accept the consequences.     
He then chided me for what he thought was my modifying my comment. It was weird of him accusing me of "editing" my comments; I merely gave another non-violent tactic to respond to racism."Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is my credo. I will be an activist against tolerance for racism long before I accept racism as a valid argument.
This person needed to be convinced that there is a war on racism and the racist enemy must become fearful of expressing his beliefs if finally he cannot be convinced. Sometimes only serendipitous clandestine action will help a racist see the light
My liberal friend from New York who thinks Clinton will be better than Trump was sent a meme by me attacking Obama’s record of promoting violence while president by saying Clinton was better than Trump. I tried convincing that there is no sitting down for freedom and democracy; Clinton is no alternative to Trump but Sanders, who is a coward, was.
His comment came in response to a meme I posted about an upcoming event celebrating the life of Ralph Nadar. Mark blamed Nadar on Bush's victory like Gore or Mondale would have done any worse. He doesn't realize what I realized about democracy under capitalism.
Sure, that's what the CIA wants you to think, but the buffoon would only draw American racism and white supremacy to a head; give the progressive movement a good target. Clinton will clandestinely lead the US further into war and depleted social programs, just as her husband did.
The CIA succeeded. Look what the progressive movement did with Nixon! We would have the country on the verge of revolution if Trump were president. "The darkest hour is just before the dawn." Bring the darkest hour on. Don't let the US linger in twilight too long while Americans and people of the world suffer.
I told my friend everyone who loves freedom and liberty must go out into the streets. I fear more for the clandestine policies Clinton will have on your and my children. They have to get out in the streets, too. I have no hope for the US until after the current regime is ousted.
      The “lint” from a group I joined was upset about my saying the U.S. caused the violence and threw me a red herring asking if I liked philosophy. Another friend defended me saying to ignore him but I challenged him to a debate about US causing Islam to circle the wagons against the assault to their culture and homeland. I wrote:

“The destruction of Islam is by Euro-American hands. Look back at Afghanistan, Iran & Libya before their Islamic Revolutions, all but 50 years ago. How things have changed! A people under attack in the Middle World circle the wagons and lose their ease. Westerners should put their energies into cleaning up their own backyard and stop their governments from terrorizing the Muslim world and provoking it.”

The first netizen who spoke his mind in a troll comment on-line threw me a red herring I challenged him to a debate about US causing Islam to circle the wagons against the assault to their culture and homeland. He asked, “Are you a fan of philosophical writing?” I replied, “I guess I am; I especially admire Kahlil Gibran; have you read his work? Your question has to do with the meme? I am curious.” He responded, “I have objections but all are category related, so I could easily convince you that I agreed or disagreed depending on how I responded to it”.
I responded, “Okay, you name the place and I will debate it with you.”

I am not afraid to confront people in person or on the internet; I only know when there's no more point in knowing someone and letting them live their private hells somewhere out of my sight. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pensioners should accept a reduction in handouts: NPP

Pensioners should accept a reduction in handouts: NPP

GENEROUS SYSTEM:The nation’s pension system is a complicated web of different funds and guarantees, which have gradually accrued to workers in different sectors

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter
Retired military personnel, civil servants and public-school teachers should accept benefit cuts for the sake of generational justice, New Power Party (NPP) legislators said yesterday, calling for an equal replacement ratio for national pensions.
“There will necessarily be pain and the sacrifice of some vested interests as part of pension reform, but the sacrifices are not for the benefit of any particular group — they are for our next generation and our nation’s future,” NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said, adding that excessively high income replacement ratios for former government employees were the primary source of “hidden debt” increasing the pressure on the budget.
The nation’s pension system is a complicated web of different funds and guarantees, which have gradually accrued to workers in different sectors with former government employees generally enjoying more generous coverage.
Chang said that former government employees with different pension systems receive pensions that are equal to between 70 and 100 percent of their former salaries, adding that “generational justice” requires that the government refuse assuming responsibility for meeting pension fund obligations after various funds go bankrupt.
“At a time when the nation’s finances face collapse unless reforms are enacted, talking about protecting vested interests is meaningless,” he said, “The government taking responsibility to meet the obligations would effectively shift the debts of this generation to the next.”
There is room for discussion on the precise legal definition of different government pension promises, along with the extent the promises could be constitutionally altered via legislation, he said.
In principle, any pension reform should adjust pension replacement ratios to make their underlying formulas equal across all sectors and occupations, he said, adding that his party would propose specific legislation after the Presidential Office’s pension reform commission makes its final recommendations next year.
Any pension reform plan should be equitable, guarantee a universal minimum pension and respect generational justice, while ensuring the system’s sustainability, NPP legislative caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said.
He criticized a protest planned for tomorrow by retired government personnel for failing to outline a clear reform plan, accusing demonstrators of using the differences across occupations to obscure the importance of pension reform.
The NPP’s electoral platform last year called for canceling all non-pension benefits for government personnel while increasing their pension contributions and capping replacement ratios at between 60 and 70 percent.
The party also proposed transitioning to a “pay-as-you-go” pension system to replace the current pension system, which would serve as a “pool” for contributions from workers in different sectors.

Mixed views on ‘day off’ definition

Mixed views on ‘day off’ definition

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter
A new Ministry of Labor interpretation of how to regulate workers’ “mandatory day off” drew mixed reaction from labor groups yesterday, with some saying the interpretation leaves a loophole for employers, while others called the issue inconsequential.
“The content is not substantially different from the previous interpretation,” Taipei Confederation of Trade Unions executive director Chen Shu-lun (陳淑綸) said. “The solution here should be firms paying and hiring more, rather than getting legal exceptions — the ministry’s decision will just lead to further demands from other industries to be included [in the exceptions].”
The new interpretation announced on Thursday is a more rigorous interpretation of the “seven days” during which an employee must take a “mandatory day off” under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法). It includes a list of exceptions for specific kinds of work, such as meat processing and transportation during national holidays.
A more lenient interpretation of “seven days” applies to the exceptions, giving affected firms greater flexibility in scheduling shifts.
The ministry originally planned to apply the stricter interpretation across the board, but did a U-turn after bus companies announced massive cuts to their weekend and national holiday schedules.
Even though the scope of the new exceptions is more specific than the previous regulations, the ministry’s flip-flop raises questions about whether it will stand firm against calls to apply them to additional business sectors, Chen said, dismissing a statement by Deputy Minister of Labor Liao Hui-fang (廖蕙芳) that firms would only be allowed to make a “one-time” use of the exceptions.
“There’s no process to enforce the restrictions, except the requirement that employees give their consent,” Chen said.
“We are OK with anything that guarantees a definite amount of rest time under reasonable conditions,” National Drivers’ Union secretary-general Huang Shu-hui (黃淑惠) said, adding that the changes were “inconsequential” because either a flexible or rigid interpretation of “seven days” would be acceptable to union members.
General Chamber of Commerce chairman Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰) said that because only “one-time” use of the exceptions is allowed, the regulations would not resolve the problems of some industries, such as security and travel firms.
Additional reporting by Huang Pang-ping and Lo Chien-yi

CIVIL PENSIONS: Young people’s groups voice their support for reform

CIVIL PENSIONS: Young people’s groups voice their support for reform

By Cheng Hung-ta and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters

Young people at a rally in Taipei yesterday call on students to demand pension reform, job equality and intergenerational justice.

Photo: CNA

Representatives from a coalition of young people’s groups voiced their support for pension reform in Taipei yesterday.
The group called for “generational justice” and equal treatment for people from all occupations, adding that young people are unfairly shouldering the financial burden of public pensions.
Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔), an executive for the Social Democratic Party, said that the viewpoints of the younger generation are not being heard at government meetings.
“I have many young adult friends around me who are civil servants, public-school teachers, or enlisted in the military, but they support the government’s drive for pension reform,” Lu said. “However, they are afraid to speak out due to pressure from their superiors.”
“Many young adults doubt that they can receive pensions in the future, even though they have paid into the system,” Lu said. “They worry that they have to pay now, but when they retire, they would have to face a bankrupt nation.”
Hsu Tzu-wei (徐子為), head of National Chengchi University’s graduate students association, said that public-school teachers receive on average NT$68,000 in monthly pensions, while workers in most other occupations only receive at most NT$16,000 per month.
“Our society has belatedly discovered that the pension system and working rights are unfair to private-sector employees,” Hsu said. “Pension reform is not a ‘class struggle’ against groups in higher wage levels. We just want to achieve reform so that private-sector employees have the same pensions as civil servants, teachers and military personnel.”
The government must be more prudent in its spending, he said, adding that it must find other revenue sources, so the pension system can be stabilized, easing the financial burden on young workers who have to support retirees.
Chen Chia-hsin (陳佳菁), president of the National Yang Ming University student union, said problems with the pension system have a historical and institutional background, and proposed reforms are not aimed at any particular group as some have claimed.
“Spending is allocated unevenly, for which the younger generation has to shoulder the financial burdens of the future,” Chen said. “We want the government to carry on dialogue with all sectors of society to make the pension system fair, equitable and sustainable.”
Wu Yun-ching (吳昀慶), head of National Taiwan University’s graduate students association, said statistics show that the nation’s “old-age dependency” ratio is at 5.6, meaning one person aged 65 or more is dependent on the financial contributions of 5.6 working adults.
“However, the ratio will be reduced to 2.2 within the next 20 years,” Wu said. “Taiwan will become an impoverished society. Therefore we must discuss the fair distribution of financial resources right now.”
Yao Chieh-hsiang (姚介祥), a figure in the Sunflower movement, said Taiwan risks bankruptcy, so Taiwanese should tighten their belts and face the hardship together.
“Those people protesting today [yesterday] ... should understand that they are also a part of this nation,” Yao said. “They should not see reform as a punishment.”

Tsai stresses commitment to reforms

Tsai stresses commitment to reforms

RELENTLESS:President Tsai Ing-wen urged young people to be persistent when advocating a cause and ‘pound the table’ if officials keep ignoring their demands

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

President Tsai Ing-wen, second row, sixth left, poses for a picture with the attendees at the Youth Policy Forum’s national conference at the Ministry of Education in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday reiterated her administration’s commitment to pension reform, saying that she will take full responsibility for its effects, following a protest on Saturday against the government’s planned reforms.
Tsai proposed four principles for reform: an across-the-board protection of retirement benefits; a scientific assessment of pension schemes; a sustainable and practical management of pension funds; and a democratic reform process.
Tsai made the remarks at a Youth Policy Forum conference hosted by the Ministry of Education in Taipei.
All retirees should be entitled to a sustainable pension that supports basic necessities, Tsai said, adding that changes to income replacement ratios, the government funding ratio of pension funds and payment requirements need to be based on rigorous calculations.
Management of pension funds has to be sustainable and pragmatic, she said, adding that improvements are needed to raise the funds’ performance and investment returns.
The reform process has to be democratic and transparent to make way for substantial discussions, Tsai said.
“The sole purpose of building a just and sustainable pension system is to take care of future generations. We will continue on the road to reform to ease the burden on the younger generation and ensure a stable retirement income,” Tsai said.
“As the president, I will take on the stress of reforms,” she added.
A determined government would not waver in its duty to carry out reforms even if opinion polls are not satisfactory, Tsai said, adding that structural reform is a long-term process in which there are no noticeable short-term results, but confusion and unrest.
A nation would fall if its government rules according to public sentiment, while a government would collapse if it only focuses on long-term goals, Tsai said, adding that her administration will try to “keep a better balance.”
She urged a crowd of about 100 attendants, mostly college students, to address issues such as pension reform, long-term care, industry innovation and constitutional reforms.
Tsai told them to be persistent when advocating a cause, because government officials need to be constantly reminded of the importance of certain issues.
“You might as well pound the table if [government officials] do not pay attention for a third time,” she said.
“However, there is no need to protest unless it is absolutely necessary. Protest is a right of every person, but it is more important to engage in reasonable discussion following a protest,” Tsai said.
Responding to a question on how the education system can be reformed to relieve high-school students from standardized tests, Tsai said high-school curriculum needs substantial reform to eliminate unnecessary studies so students can be engaged in life, as such engagement is lacking in the nation’s education system.
A three-year college degree program might be implemented to give students more time to be involved in non-academic work, she said.
Tsai encouraged young people to become entrepreneurs instead of confining themselves as employees, because industrial transition is key to building a better working environment at a time when numerous small and medium-sized enterprises are having difficulty keeping up with the competition and committing to worker welfare.
Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said the government respects Saturday’s protest and the opinions voiced there, but added that dialogue is needed to reach a consensus about pension reform.
Lin called on young people to engage in public issues and criticize government policies to boost communication between the public and the government.

Many couples live with parents: data

Many couples live with parents: data

CITY LIFE:The ministry said married people in urban areas tend to value their independence and have less space, making it harder for joint families to live together

Staff writer, with CNA
About 21 percent of married Taiwanese aged 35 to 54 — more than 1.06 million people — live with their parents, even though they are financially independent, according to the Ministry of the Interior’s latest statistics.
The ministry released the data for the first time as a reference tool for local governments, to help them develop housing policies that better meet the needs of their constituents.
The ministry said people in this category “have the potential to live independently,” because they are financially independent from their parents and able to make a living and support a family.
The percentage of married people living with their parents tended to be higher in rural areas than in urban areas, the ministry said.
In the six special municipalities, 16 to 22 percent of married people aged 35 to 54 lived with their parents, compared with 26 to 33 percent in rural areas in central and southern Taiwan.
Fewer married people in urban areas live with their parents, because they tend to value their independence more, the ministry said.
They also have to deal with smaller apartments that make it harder for extended families to live together, it added.
Many houses in rural parts of central and southern Taiwan are multistory townhouses that can accommodate more people, it said.
Such structures allow married couples to live with their parents, but still enjoy a degree of independence by having one floor of the house to themselves, the ministry said.
Among the nation’s 22 cities and counties, Kinmen (33.79 percent), Yunlin (33.34 percent) and Chiayi (32.74 percent) counties had the highest ratios of potentially independent married people living with their parents, the ministry said.
Keelung (15.82 percent), Hsinchu (15.96 percent) and New Taipei City (16.71 percent) had the lowest ratios, it said.
In Yunlin and Chiayi — where agriculture is the main source of income — people tend to stay to help cultivate their family’s land, the ministry said, adding that it is also easier for married people to live with their parents to take care of them.
Many Keelung natives tend to move to bigger neighboring cities to find work and start their own families, the ministry said.
New Taipei City attracts many people from other parts of the nation to work and start families, also leading to a lower proportion of married people living with their parents, as does Hsinchu, home to one of the nation’s biggest science parks, the ministry said.

Tsai urges leaders to push ahead with reform agenda

Tsai urges leaders to push ahead with reform agenda

Staff writer, with CNA
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday held a meeting with top executive and legislative leaders and ruling party mayors of four municipalities, urging them to push ahead with the government’s major policy initiatives, including reform of the nation’s pension system.
The meeting came on the heels of a mass rally a day earlier of retired and active civil servants, public-school teachers and military personnel, who vented their anger at being “stigmatized” over their seemingly fat pensions.
Tsai asked Cabinet members, and legislative and local government leaders to help speed up the reform of the pension system as the public has high hopes of its success.
“We must make sure that our pension system is sustainable and that every member of the public can enjoy a quality retirement,” Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) quoted Tsai as saying.
Tsai urged the party caucus and the executive to help gather ideas and proposals for the presidential task force on pension reform so a consensus on the contentious issue could be reached as early as possbile, Huang said.
With a new session of the Legislative Yuan scheduled to begin soon, Tsai also called for progress on priority bills on social housing and long-term care for senior citizens.
The central government’s budget and the approval of the Judicial Yuan nominees for president and vice president, as well as nominees for grand justices, are also urgent business for the legislative branch, Tsai said.
“Our team must redouble its efforts to push ahead with major reform programs and the legislative agenda, making it known to the public what we are doing, the progress of our agenda and when it will be completed,” she said. “In short, we must do our best to communicate with all sectors of society to gain the people’s understanding and earn their trust.”
During the meeting, participants gave their full support and appreciation to the premier, vice premier and Cabinet chief secretary for their hard work over the past three months, Huang said.