Financial Times: Portland near bottom in fiscal health index.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The city of Portland is currently about $3.4 billion in debt and ranks near the bottom of a national "fiscal health index."

The Fiscal Times evaluated the finances of 116 U.S. cities with populations greater than 200,000 and ranked Portland No. 103 last year.

Officials say Portland's debt has risen by more than 20 percent over the past 10 years from $2.82 billion in 2008.

The city currently pays more than $500 million annually to service its debt, which includes both principal and interest. The city's total budget this year is $5.1 billion. ...
Go to the KATU link for a breakout and analysis of the debt from city debt manager Eric Johansen.

China / New Zealand: Concern over PRC influence in NZ.

Business Insider:
A former CIA analyst has raised the prospect of kicking New Zealand out of an international intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the US.

Five Eyes is the name of the intelligence alliance between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that has routinely shared sensitive intelligence since 1955. But failure to respond to interference attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) should endanger New Zealand's membership, Peter Mattis, a former CIA China expert testified to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission last month.

"In New Zealand, both the last prime minister, Bill English, and Jacinda Ardern, have denied that there's a problem at all," Mattis, now a fellow at The Jamestown Foundation, said. ...

Seth Frantzman: Europe's overdue immigration reform.

Seth Frantzman at Jerusalem Post:
It’s not by chance that immigration became the No. 1 issue in all these countries. It is because almost every single government across the continent thought that bourgeois post-Cold War sensibilities and neoliberalism could solve everything. They labeled everyone discussing immigration, when such discussions were much smaller, as crackpots, extreme rightists. This was mostly because the old parties of Europe, the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, the Liberals and Conservatives, had a convivencia of power-swapping. Years of peace changed the political landscape, and it was expected that borders would be reduced and a common currency would lead to common values. The nation-state was an anachronism, said intellectuals like Tony Judt. Growing inequality, unemployment, and the social distance between leaders and governed crept in quietly, without major media noticing it.

The refugee crises of 2015 was emblematic of what had gone on for years. I went to Eastern Europe to cover the crisis. I watched as police in Greece lined up migrants and sent them into Macedonia across an undocumented border crossing. No security checks, no fingerprints, no IDs. Just “go across.” ...

Jonathan Spyer: Iran's strategic response.

Jonathan Spyer:
Iran can be expected to respond with a counter-strategy of its own, designed to stymy and frustrate western and allied efforts. What form will this Iranian response take? What assets does Iran possess in the furtherance of this goal?

First of all, it is worth noting what Iran does not have: Teheran is deficient in conventional military power, and as such is especially vulnerable when challenged in this arena. The Iranians have neglected conventional military spending, in favor of emphasis on their missile program, and their expertise in the irregular warfare methods of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Qods Force. ...

California: New water rationing laws.

The Organic Prepper:
Governor Jerry Brown is retiring but not before he passes a few draconian laws as parting gifts for California. Two bills were signed into law on Thursday of last week to “help California be better prepared for future droughts and the effects of climate change.”

The mandatory water conservation standards will be permanent, according to their wording, and not just for use in times of crisis. To make a long story short, now that these bills are law, it’s illegal to take a shower and do a load of laundry in the same day because you’ll exceed your “ration.” ...
About Assembly Bill 1668:
The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.
Sacramento Bee:
Assembly Bill 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, and Senate Bill 606 from state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, give water districts more flexibility than the strict cuts mandated under Brown’s emergency drought order and will eventually allow state regulators to assess thousands of dollars in fines against jurisdictions that do not meet the goals. ...


The "decent people".

They are a class of people who believed they could discern a "decent" person by the individual's decorum and speech. Their whole world-view is based on this shallow, superficial, and trivial understanding of human nature. In reality, decent and honorable people may be plain-spoken and even at times crude. But the manners brigade will die before they'll admit they were wrong about that.

Gender and category errors.

The anti-trans social conservatives understand correctly that gender has both an external component (our reproductive organs) and an internal component (our psychological makeup), which are aligned or matched-up in a certain way in most people. What they are unable or unwilling to see is that exceptional cases may exist where the matching is different from most people. (Were this not the case, it would be the only phenomenon in all of nature that hasn't got a single exception or deviation.) They imagine that transgender people are "trying to destroy society".

Anti-trans feminists (or TERFs) make the opposite error, and deny any natural correlation between reproductive sex and innate gender identity. For them, all gender identity is "socially constructed" and the product of patriarchal stereotypes. From there, it is a short step to declaring all generalizations about men and women inherently oppressive and evil.

Of the two errors, the latter is more useful to socialists and radical leftists (who really ARE trying to destroy society) because it attacks the process of organizing our experience on the most fundamental level - it attacks reasoning itself. A botany book contains idealized diagrams of flowers, and an anatomy book contains idealized diagrams of people; no one imagines that these diagrams represent every case, or even exactly represent a single example, but they are useful tools for learning the overall properties of the thing under consideration.

It is not so difficult to say, "This is the general case, but execptions also exist. Each case is unique, and yet certain things are true of the overall population." And yet this is exactly what political correctness aims to do, with the intended and demonstrated result that the whole educational process grinds to a halt. And this is precisely what we've seen in ecucation for the past 50 years or more.