Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Email Answers. A friend in a northern suburb of my city (Newark, NJ) has sent me emails on a variety of political topics in the past couple of days, and I'd like to show here my replies, in no particular order.
On the challenge to "Obamacare" before the Supreme Court.
Government is not authorized to tell people what to do with their after-tax income. The individual mandate is unconstitutional and will almost certainly be struck down, as it should be. Anything Government wishes to do, it must do via taxes and regulations, not telling people how to use their after-tax income. If Government can decide that it is in the social interest to buy health insurance from private companies, it can decide that everyone must buy a house, or car, or college or vocational education, or anything and everything else Government decides, on its own nonexistent authority, everyone SHOULD do. That means Government can control every single cent everyone makes, and nobody will have ANY discretionary income, but everyone will do everything Government says they must do, and live exactly as Government tells them to.On Leon Panetta's observation that Israel is isolating itself ever more. First reply:
Israel is not just a failed state. It is a doomed state unless its leadership, both governmental and social, admit that the whole idea was bad from the outset, and if there is to be any peace short of complete dissolution of the Israeli state into a reunified, multiethnic and multireligious Palestine, it will be only if Israel turns over all the housing it has created in the West Bank (and Gaza), if any, unhands the Golan Heights, and otherwise withdraws to the 1948 borders that the UN too generously accorded.My friend was astonished at my suggestion. So I made this second reply.
It seems obvious to me that the only real solution is to dissolve "Israel" and merge it back into Palestine. If the only way to do that is to create Unified Palestine (by any name) as a State of the United States, whereupon U.S. civil-rights laws, backed by U.S. power, guarantees that everyone is treated fairly by the local government and society[, then let's create Palestine into the 51st State]. The mess in the Middle East has cost us an enormous amount, in the region, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in Downtown Manhattan. It would be much more economical simply to annex all of Palestine and force everybody to treat each other with respect.
How does it make any sense to spend $3B each year on Israel, and fite war after war for Israel? We have spent a minimum of $100B on Israel, and the [total of all] costs of U.S. support for Israel [is], according to some authority I saw, something like $1.3 TRILLION. And we continue to suffer from wars for Israel, and the Zionist lobby wants us to invade Iran too! Annexing a unified Palestine would be a much more economical and sensible thing to do.On bioluminescence from an algae bloom causing neon-blue waves after dark:
I wonder if anyone is working on using bioluminescence in PLACE of electricity.On heavy losses in the stock market (Dow Jones).
The problem is that the brokers don't lose when the market plunges, because that means that people are selling stocks, and brokers make a commission on every sale and purchase on the other side.Whether investors win or lose, the stockbrokers make a buck.
On Hank Williams, Jr.'s comparison of Obama to "Hitler" and "the enemy":
He's an a*hole. Singers aren't required to be pundits. I'm glad his "open"ing to football has been pulled. To say that we are more polarized than ever is, of course, absurd. He forgets a little thing called "the Civil War", which his side lost. And for him to pretend that he favors Herman Cain is patent nonsense.On the Occupy Wall Street ("OWS") movement's lack of coherence:
Jimmy Kimmel tonite [perceived as Monday, 10/3/11, but technically Tuesday, 10/4, since Kimmel starts after midnite] had a skit showing a group of OWS demonstrators chanting, "What do we want?" "We're not sure."On the spread of protests inspired by OWS:
Note how the Wisconsin protests did NOT set off, as we hoped they would, a national movement, but a protest in NYC did. This proves again that NY is the Nation's actual capital, and WashDC only the administrative center. Let's see how far this goes. If Tea Partiers and Leftists and moderate Liberals and Conservatives are all furious with Wall Street, we may finally shake the Government loose from the clutches of the rich.On comments by John Ratzenberger on U.S. economic problems:
I stopped reading when the fool said we have plenty of manufacturing jobs, and the problem is we don't have workers. That is manifestly absurd, or perhaps I should say, PREPOSTEROUS! [My friend thinks I say "preposterous" a lot. He may be right. But a lot is not too much. The world is filled with preposterousness.]On Dick and Liz Cheney's suggestion that in lite of the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, President Obama owes President Bush an apology on torture:
CHEENEY (the correct pronunciation, as in the name of a girl I went to high school with) needs to shut the ... heck up. Attacking Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, and committing torture against helpless captives is not remotely the same thing as killing in the field an admitted terrorist commander who could not be arrested.On John McCain opposing Dick and Liz Cheney's stance:
McCain has real credibility as regards torture, given his own history in North Vietnam. Cheeney, a draft-dodger, has none.On Ron Paul's talking about impeaching President Obama for assassinating al-Awlaki:
Ron Paul has just destroyed the bulk of his base. Isn't that sad? What an idiot, talking about Arresting Al-Awlaki in a region of a foreign country very far away in which we have no authority nor presence on the ground. U.S. citizenship overseas means nothing. Ron Paul's stance is called "extraterritoriality", namely, that the U.S. has the right and duty to impose its laws upon areas outside our borders. Yes, we have the obligation to operate by our principles whenever we CAN do so without compromising fundamental principles. Protecting a 'right of terrorism' is not a Constitutional principle. Ron Paul is a lunatic, but his base is not all lunatics. He has alienated his base.On Herman Cain's saying that Chris Christie (who is, alas, Governor of my state, at least until the next election, when we might undo the fluke of his election) is too liberal to be nominated by the Republican Party:
Poor Herman Cain, so deluded that he thinks the Republican Party of today would even for a SECOND consider nominating a conservative BLACK man but would refuse to nominate a moderate WHITE man.On what individuals can do about Bank of America (my bank, for the moment) instituting a $5/month fee for use of a debit card. First reply:
There's not much the individual can do, realistically. That's what government is for, to protect us from thieves. Still, at this point, if I take out CASH from a BofA ATM, I won't be charged. And if I can pay anything online via Bill Pay, I won't be charged. Or I can move cash from checking to Visa, and pay by Visa until they decide to slash my credit line once they catch wise. Or I can move my checking account to Investors Savings or Valley National Bank or something else local if they don't charge such fees. I deeply resent this ripoff. BofA wouldn't even EXIST to charge ANYONE any fee at all if it hadn't been bailed out by the Federal Government. That it repaid that loan doesn't mean a thing, because the debt is permanent, till the end of time, because the institution would not exist had the loan not been made in the first place. It's like someone whose life was saved deciding on his own that something he had done had fully repaid the debt, and he could now revert to being monstrously selfish vis-a-vis the very person/people who saved his life. No, he cannot do any such thing, morally. Government must step in -- and warn abusive banks (a) we will arrest and flog and imprison at their own expense, all abusive banking executives, and (b) if that does not suffice, nationalize offending banks just take them over and sell them off piecemeal in smaller units to break up banks that are "too big to fail".Second reply, to a second email:
Break up all those huge banks, and the new banks competing among themselves will find ways to economize rather than just hit consumers with outrageous fees.On supportive remarks by George Soros regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement:
I wonder who is funding the OWS protestors. I have seen what looked like a daily newspaper on view in some footage, and things like that cost money.My friend and I may head into Manhattan by PATH train (an interstate subway system under the Hudson River) to participate in the Occupy Wall Street protests at some point.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,477 for Israel.)
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