Sunday, May 31, 2020

Rioting and Looting ARE Effective Tools to Affect Change

    I have heard, too many times, in response to the current riots and looting that arose from protests related to the murder of George Floyd, that "they are accomplishing nothing," or "they are only hurting themselves."

    This, of course, is wrong. They are accomplishing everything.

    The strategy of rioting and looting is to make doing nothing about a problem more expensive than doing something about a problem. 

    The problem now (among others, and certainly oversimplified) is institutionalized racism. As manifested on a local level, the police have too often been "given a pass" when they kill black people. The problem can be solved, but it hasn't been solved. Certainly the current administration in Washington, DC has no intention of solving it and has, in fact, encouraged it. (Contrast the current response from Washington to that which existed when the Rodney King officers were acquitted in Simi Valley: The federal government stepped and initiated a federal case against those officers. After the Rampart scandal, the federal government stepped in and subjected the LAPD to the consent decree.)

    Considering the current administration in Washington, it is probable that the ONLY way to get action is to make complacency MORE EXPENSIVE than solving the problem. That is exactly what the rioters and looters are doing and they are doing it effectively.

    The rioters and looters are not the problem. The encouragement and protection of institutionalized racism coming from Washington is the problem. The rioting and looting are logical responses to that.

    Peaceful protests following past manifestations of this institutionalized racism didn't do much for George Floyd. It is possible that the economics of civil unrest will save lives to come.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Blame the people or the government?

The context I present below owes to Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, in Hitler's Willing Executioners which compellingly makes the case that the German citizenry of the early 20th century was responsible for the holocaust and that the blame cannot be laid at the feet of a single man or political party.

I think its premise is interesting when applied to current events in the United States. In each branch and in every agency of the U.S. Government there are legions of citizens carrying out genuinely evil agendas set by the current administration. One need only scan recent headlines to find examples:
  • family separation / children in cages;
  • increased detention;
  • MPP;
  • removing cost protections for healthcare and medicine;
  • censorship of social media by removing liability protections;
  • withdrawing from multi-lateral arms agreements;
  • encouragement of police brutality; open support of Nazism;
  • creation of unpayable national debt for the benefit of billionaires;
  • targeting of political enemies for prosecution and the dismissal of legitimate charges against political allies for political gain/positioning.
So, to all of those who do not feel personally responsible for the resulting harm from the policies they implement, enforce, or lend administrative or physical support to, ask yourselves the following questions:
  1. Are you compelled to do the vile task or do you have a choice?
  2. Have you justified your personal acts by elevating obedience to the rules above obedience to a personal moral code?
  3. Do you feel that your own moral guidance must be somehow wrong because people you respect don't find doing these same acts repugnant?
  4. Is there some benefit to you personally for overlooking you own moral code?
  5. Have you thought of your acts as being insignificant in the greater scheme of the evil being perpetrated such that if you didn't do the job someone else would anyway?
If this administration finds itself out-of-power after the next election, or the one after that, and its leaders and functionaries are held to account for the destruction they have caused, you will have to answer these questions under oath. And when you make your final accounting, remember...the universe already knows the answers.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Kuwait to extend citizenship to Palestinians and Jews alike. Why isn't this being reported?!

It seems that no one is reporting the news that the Kuwaiti foreign minister announced today that Kuwait is extending an offer of citizenship to both Arabs and Jews who were displaced in the 20th Century.

The foreign minister is quoted as saying
The Kingdom of Kuwait encompasses nearly 7000 square miles and has a population of only four million people. We also have great wealth. We most certainly have the room and resources to accommodate both Palestinians who left Israel to fight with Arab nations against it, and also for the millions of Jews who were displaced from their ancestral homelands in the Arab world during the same time.
Asked why they are agreeing to extend Kuwaiti citizenship to Jews as well as Palestinians, the minister replied:
We recognize that Jews who were expelled from their homes in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Yemen literally have no other country other than Israel in which they can relocate in the middle east. To the same extend we feel that Palestinians should have a right to return to homes their parents abandoned in Israel, so too should Jews have a right to reclaim their homes in Arab lands that they were forced to abandon. Accordingly, we have decided to lead by example.

Asked why they were offering citizenship and not just residency, the minister replied:
The only country in the middle east that has ever offered full citizenship to the Palestinians is, oddly enough, Israel. We felt that it would be hypocritical to condemn Israel while offering out brethren less than Israel. The only moral thing to do is offer full citizenship.
We were wondering why this news is not being reported, so we asked the article's author. The author explained that the story is being quashed because it is untrue, that the quotes are false, and that the forgoing never actually happened. Neither Kuwait nor any other middle eastern country other than Israel  has ever actually permitted persons of Palestinian descent to obtain citizenship and has none have offered the Jews it expelled in the 20th century to return to their ancestral homes. Kuwait did not say that it recognizes that Jews were not only kicked out of the other countries in the middle east, nor did it acknowledge that the Jewish people literally have no place else to go as there are no other Jewish countries anywhere in the world (there are 28 Muslim countries, btw.) In fact,