Saturday, January 13, 2024

A hot mess

Residing in Israel and observing what might well be a rapidly widening conflict... and watching the current political season in the USA, where a loathsome character like Trump is running a campaign that portrays him as an incarnation of Jesus Christ... I cannot help but wonder when the world will wake up and realize that religion is no panacea. And it is also not just an opiate, as Marx described it. Religion is, and has always been, a hot mess.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Friendly fire

In the Israel-Hamas war, the killing of hostages by friendly fire was always inevitable. And even the killing of three hostages while they were waving a white flag is not very surprising. War is hell. But when these things actually happen, then we may hope that bloodthirsty hawks may take a step back, looking for a better solution than mere vengeance and looking for a more long-term solution than just a few years of fragile security. So while it is somewhat sad to note that most of the world has quickly forgotten the horrors of the Hamas attack on Israel of October 7, the global outrage at a heavy-handed Israeli military response may lead to some good for both Israelis and Palestinians. If, on the other hand (and as may be more likely) it only leads to a simple ceasefire and prisoner exchange (an implicit victory for Hamas), then that would be highly unfortunate... but also in large part the fault of Netanyahu's mismanagement of the Israeli Government and the Israeli war effort. In short, the one certain lesson to learn from this tragic war is that both Palestinians and Israelis require new and better leadership.

Civil versus Crimial Law

As it seems, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss were obliged to file a case against Rudy Giuliani under Civil Law. Giuliani's crime was defamation. Unfortunately, there really wasn't a suitable option for getting justice in their case. Under Georgia law, defamation may rise to the level of a criminal offense; but then it is only treated as a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of a $1000 fine and 1 year of jail time. That is the absolute maximum under criminal law. So they sued Giuliani under civil law and secured a ruling that award them nearly $150M. But while Freeman and Moss might receive more from this civil law suit than they could have ever hoped to achieve from a criminal case, the outcome is still inherently unjust.

(1) Giuliani won't pay anywhere close to $150M. He doesn't have that much money. And, with a possible filing for bankruptcy and appeals, there's no telling when - or even if - Freeman and Moss will see any of their awarded compensation.

(2) Giuliani won't spend even a day in prison as a consequence of the verdict in this trial.

(3) Even if Giuliani is completely bankrupted by this verdict, he will almost certainly continue to enjoy a lavish lifestyle... courtesy of friends... as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has demonstrated to be entirely possible.

So the divide between civil and criminal law seems to be somewhat arbitrary and ultimately inequitable. When someone is fined an astronomical sum of money in a civil case... a sum that clearly won't be paid... then there should be a formula for converting dollars to jail time. Perhaps the judge can set an upper limit on the total jail time (taking into account the injury done). And maybe the judge could set the rate of conversion... $1000 = 1 week, $1M = 1 year, or whatever. But somehow rulings should serve justice and not just be a farce.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Time to revive the Berlin Airlift strategy

 But this time in reverse. As Russia is blockading Ukraine's export of much needed grain to under-developed nations... as Russia is once again seeking to weaponize food through resultant starvation... let NATO step in and airlift Ukraine's grain to a port outside the reach of any Russian restriction.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The whole of bloody England

 Have you heard? The whole of bloody England is in a right uproar now. Everyone is making and taking bets on what Boris Johnson is going to do next. Ten quid on stand-up comedian. Twenty quid on hair stylist. Thirty quid on male stripper. Let's hope it doesn't break the global economy.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Israeli Jews should learn morality from Ukraine

After one terrorist attack in Israel, the ultra-right, religious-extremist government of Benjamin Netanyahu is set to impose atrocities on the families of the terrorists. Is it ethical? Absolutely not. Will it yield a good social result? Though Netanyahu might reap some crude political gain, Israel as a whole can only lose.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

It doesn't get much worse than this

Musk thought he controls the social discourse, then...
Elon got mocked by Bond on Netflix.