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Grand Old Persons


The FCC just repealed Net Neutrality, which means I have time to write this, but don’t get paid by the word and get charged by the second (exaggerations: neither happens – yet).  For “What Is Net Neutrality” see a BCC video by that same name (no firewall, I think).

In representative democracy, which the United States thinks it has, a whole bunch of votes that are counted gives some representative the power to make decisions and appoint other people to make other decisions on their behalf.

The Federal Communications Commission is appointed by the executive branch of the federal government – with the usual confirmation by the Senate.  This means that the president appoints the FCC, which means that votes matter.

The government, like all other institutions, makes policy.  Policy can be given and be taken away, and policy can benefit or (and?) harm.

We can all take guesses why someone who used to represent a corporation would want to propagate a rule that benefits a corporation.  Maybe the law says corporations are people, and that other Grand Old Person just wants to make sure these corporation-persons don’t go underrepresented.  Maybe this Grand Old Person just is trying to represent the views of the executive branch.

*There are is in fact more than one Grand Old Person


Necessity and Proportionality


Human rights law’s regulation of the use of force encompasses two core rules. First, any force used must be only the minimum necessary (the principle of necessity). Second, force used must be proportionate to the threat (the principle of proportionality). These rules are cumulative, and violation of either means that human rights…. have been violated”(from The Use of Nuclear Weapons and Human Rights – PDF file after link)

Apply this statement to nuclear weapons.  Apply it to Trump’s eagerness to to use nuclear weapons, or at least his disregard for the danger therein.

It applies to the use of both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons.

Why the international community approves the use of force at all is a question worth addressing at some point.


Allow us to do Good Deeds


Two years later we must continue to work toward true peace, and atonement for all that we should have done or should not have done.

The Dole Blog

Judaism is about to celebrate what it considers to be it’s 5776 Rosh Hashanah (essentially New Year), coupled with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Whatever the case, Jews have been celebrating, or perhaps a better word would be observing these holidays – it’s hard to celebrate Yom Kippur – for thousands of years.

Thomas Cahill has gone far enough as suggesting, in Gifts of the Jews, that Judaism developed time as we know it, putting forth the idea of linear time, instead of the cyclical time of those preparing only for the next season.

On Rosh Hashanah we celebrate making it to another year.  Historically, it would have been a time to bring the harvest to Jerusalem, and divide it the manner of the laws that are laid down in the Mishnah; a practice done for centuries before the Mishnah was compiled.

The Mishnaic laws require the…

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Richard Gere on segregation in Hebron: It’s exactly like the Old South


Richard Gere has seen as so many people have that Hebron, and the West Bank in general, is just like the Old South used to be.  In Hebron “Palestinians are forbidden to walk on Shuhada Street. Their shop doors have been welded shut. The army has bricked up and sealed the fronts of Palestinian houses that face the streets through which settlers pass on their way to synagogue.”

On this day of Yom Kippur and all other days we must atone for the wrongs done to Palestinians, the wrongs done to Israelis, the wrongs done to all others, and we must travail for tikkun olam (healing for the whole world) and for a implementation of justice for all.


(Private) Server


“Kushner used private email to conduct White House business” reads a Politico headline.

Benghazi, Benghazi! Actually, it bothered me that Hillary did this, and it bothers me that the current administration does it. It’s definitely true – recent events have shown us – agencies that should have high security still get hacked, and information is not necessarily secure, but that doesn’t mean two wrongs make a right. Business conducted by the government should be available in public records, not in private servers.

Manmade Fantasy


We are more devastated by, and more interested in, death, doom and destruction in fictional worlds than our own world.  Why?

Why are we more interested in a fictional world than our own?  The world awaits the next broadcast of Game of Thrones, even though (perhaps because) there is no happiness in Westeros.  The world loves Lord of the Rings and the Mountain of Doom.  The list goes on.

Why are we interested in these fictional worlds but not in our own?  Why do we ignore thousands of deaths in foreign lands, and conflict close to home?  Why do we turn the other way from oppression, abroad and at home?

Perhaps we are happy to fictional characters suffer doom so we are reminded that we don’t endure such a life.  At least, most of us don’t.  Doom and destruction in war is as manmade as the fiction we await the next episode of.

We created it.  We can’t ignore it.

The government Giveth and Taketh Away


In this age where the president received fewer popular votes than his opponent, but won the electoral college, and is nonetheless the least popular president in history, we are reminded that the government giveth and the government try to take away.  In this age, we are reminded that the government giveth and threatens to taketh away as congress moves to deny people life and liberty.

Congress in its infinite wisdom has come to the conclusion – ignoring reports of its own Congressional Budget Office – that denying removing millions of people from health insurance will save money and please constituents.  Denying health insurance is vastly different than denying health care, which the United States also does not pretend to provide as a right.  To make sure that people have no safety net is the most notable part of congressional effort to deny people life.  Congress has voted 54 times on the Affordable Care Act, according to WaPo, and at no time was the vote to improve access and lower cost for health insurance.

The vaunted Declaration of Independence says governments are put among men to secure the Rights of, among others, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Liberty was further expanded and defined with the First Amendment to include the right to free speech.  Nonetheless, the government put among men by men (the United States government) moves to deny that speech.  Big Money influences government and has convinced Congress to consider a bill to criminalize boycott.  Specifically, the bill would  would impose civil and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison(!) upon a person who supports the nonviolent BDS movement against Israeli products that contribute to the Palestinian occupation.  Besides the fact that this violates the Right to Free Speech, it is wrong.  Congress is not alone.  North Carolina is the 22nd State to approve an anti-BDS bill, and similar motions for or against boycott are happening around the world.  Congress moveth to taketh away the right to liberty.

It should take neither petitions nor protests to remind Congress to do what is right.  If thou wonderest what ‘right’ it is, the government was put among men, by men, to secure our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not to take those rights away.