Bloomberg: Just Another Democrat

Mr. Bloomberg has disappointed me. I just finished Ken Stern's book Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right, and I had a hopeful moment.

At its core, this book suggests that Americans still have a lot more that unites them than they do that divides them. The problem is that we are getting our information from silos that profit from instilling fear and demonizing our political other. We are increasingly in either red or blue neighborhoods, and are learning to see the other as pretty much evil.

And - this is all me now - we are not satisfied with the status quo; we have a sense that those in Washington have abandoned us. They are either owned by big business or have radical interest groups to answer to.

And I thought maybe Bloomberg, the Democrat who became Mayor of New York as a “Republican,” the successful businessman, might be in it because he realised the Democrats have gone too far afield. I hoped he sees that what most people want is someone from and for the middle.

I thought maybe Bloomberg is the one who could stand up and rally the Democrats back to the center. I thought maybe if he could find a hundred men of business to influence the party back to the middle, we might just have a chance.

I went into Shabbat thinking maybe I could work for him. I came out of Shabbat, and what I found on my Facebook feed was a Bloomberg ad accusing President Trump of being unhinged, and obviously asking my support to unseat this madman, and then I visited his page today, and he's just another version of the bankrupt “anything but Trump.”

And for me, that's just not a platform worth betting on. I need a vision, a platform for all Americans, not another person to thumb his nose at our President.

When your only tool is a Hammer . . .

When your only tool is a Hammer . . .

It's said that when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In that context I offer you this idiotic response to last week's attacks in Monsey:

We need stronger laws, tougher penalties, more stringent prosecution against hate crime.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, as quoted at New12 Connecticut, at 1:04.

The problem here is that Senator Dick is a law-maker. He apparently thinks that's his job. And while it might be a tool of it, and the primary one at that, his job is to represent us in Washington.

A local crime happened, a nasty crime. Was this man motivated by hate? Let's say he was. Mental illness probably also played a part. We have laws to deal with assault. In New York, Mr. Thomas could face up to 25 years for an assault, and he committed at least five here. And judges have plenty of discretion when meting out sentences to fit the penalty to the crime.

Stronger laws will make no difference here. If we want less hate, maybe we should be engineering better relationships and more respect.

A great way to do this would be more recess, but that's not a thing a US Senator should have anything to do with. Maybe another righteous war would work too: there's apparently something about sharing a foxhole that tends to transcend such petty issues as race or religion.

I don't want to be too hard on Dick. He's been a lot of places, and makes a lot of rounds, but he also lives in a secluded home in an exclusive community, and is one of the richest men in the Senate. If he wants to get through the hate, he should start by mixing with those who might hate him, and maybe not just as a politician.

It's Okay to Hate the Jews

It's Okay to Hate the Jews

In the United States, it's your Constitutional right. In fact, you are welcome to hate any one you gosh-darned please, for any trivial reason, or no reason at all, and even use the trove of pejoratives we've conjured over the ages: guinea, nigger, spic, towel-head, kike, darkie, hook-nose, gook, honky, injun, chink, peckerwood, paddy, kraut, bender, 'tard, gimp, moron, to name a few.

It's okay to Discriminate

Part and parcel of your right to associate is your right to dissociate. Your profession of belief is a requirement for membership in certain associations (houses of worship). We even require promises of certain conduct (oaths of office or professions). To protect your right we require the restraint of state actors, who may not, in the name of the state, endorse one religion over another (school prayer), or discriminate in providing employment or services.

America is built on the idea that you bring your stupid ideas out there, and you can just watch them get all beat up. Brandeis put it as “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Or you can find a band of idiots similarly inclined. Unfortunately, our social media providers let us filter in just this kind of idiocy. You could be naked, on the beach, in the summer, and no light would get through. This is how you could be nice to the old guy on the bus, and then hate him all to hell on social media.

And There's Plenty of Reason to Hate Jews

And you are well justified to hate the Jews. But you should be clear on why: it's a shoot the messenger type of phenomenon. It's a lot easier to say, “I hate this mirror; it makes me look ugly,” than to admit “I have become ugly.”

A Gift can also be a Burden

The basis of our Judaeo-Christian way is Abraham's suggestion that life is guided, that it was created for a purpose, and we are its purpose, and this is good.

It's that the world isn't driven by a random collection of lusts and forces, and that in order to enjoy our gifts, we must be aware of and guide our inclinations. And if we do, we will be rewarded, but we don't know how or when.

The Call is for a Life of Forbearance

Your lusts, they must be channeled. Your need for honor, or power, or money, can be guided to be the root of great good, or great evil. Your job is to choose good. And your fate: it's in your hands.

In other words, you are powerful. And you will screw up. And it'll be all your fault, and you won't have anyone to blame, and you'll have to live with it the rest of your life. And if you end up a cripple, or broken: be glad you are alive, pull yourself together, and soldier on.

So Hate Us Because We Reminded You:
It's all Your Own Damned Fault

Look around you and you'll see it's true. There are people who came from nothing who built new worlds, and people who had everything who just blew it. And some were smarter than you, but there were plenty that didn't have your advantages that just worked harder.

And then you can consider that you/we in the west won the damned lottery: education, healthcare, food, electricity, roads, a stable government. Here's a clip on buses and police for some perspective on the miraculous time and place we live in. And you can be bitter that you've blown it.

And you will hate the people that stand for the opportunity and responsibility that our God stands for.

But Hopefully You'll Remember

Mother Nature was as mean as a mother could be, and not so damned long ago: pregnancy, with its maternal and infant mortality, incurable diseases (like syphillis), plagues, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, killing tens of millions, even war.

And we chose to order ourselves and our institutions, individually, and as groups, giving up part of our today for a better tomorrow. And maybe you resent that you have to give up so much.

And you probably have no idea how lucky you are just to exist, to be able to read this. And this is the offshoot of an ethical/moral construct given by the Jews. So instead of standing in solidarity with who brought you here, you construct new fantasies.

A Torah Lesson: The treatment of Joseph

And I'll take an aside here and visit last week's Parasha (that's the weekly bible reading of the Jews annual cycle of reading the Old Testament), which was Miketz, about Joseph, and his brothers.

They (with a level of Godliness we can't even imagine, at least according to our tradition) were also blinded: with a prophet in their midst, they chose instead to see him as an upstart, their father's favorite, seeking dominance over them.

And if they couldn't see it, how would you? We too often choose to see the ugly (and every people has its ugly), and hate on that instead of singling out the visionaries, the seers of dreams, and giving them a proper hearing.

And there are too many among the Jews for you not to give them credit. They are over-represented as Nobel Prize winners, as scientists, as holders of patents, as doctors and lawyers, and bankers.

And it sucks your people haven't proven themselves that exceptional; so you hate. It's easier than choosing to be better. It's the mirror.

But Hate Burns the Hater as Well

You have a choice. You may take on the Judaeo-Christian view that you are responsible, that you are cause in the matter of your own life, that you have a cross to bear and it is yours to find the appropriate burden.

Or you may lay blame and hate. Here's the formula for that:

  1. Identify an area of human activity,
  2. Note the distribution of success (by the way, it's always unequal; it's the pareto principal, and applies to everything),
  3. Identify the winners and the losers,
  4. Claim the losers are losing because they are oppressed by winners,
  5. Claim the allegiance of the losers, and
  6. Feel secure in your comprehensive explanation of the world,
  7. Target your resentment toward your newly discovered enemies,
  8. Repeat, forever, everywhere.

I thanks Dr. Jordan Peterson for this formulation. You might want to notice where you already have fallen into this trap, or where you echo chamber takes this, because anyone can use this against any group, and follow this out to war, to genocide, to worldwide destruction, to your destruction.

And it's Yours to Choose

You are welcome to choose hate, but know why, and know why those of us who see a future choose not to.

The Unwritten Compact

We tend to think that others think like we do. And though we often deny it, we are shaped by and mold to the societies we find ourselves in. The result is that we live in a box, and we spend most of our political capital arguing about the shape of its edges.

Homelessness is not a Federal Issue

So many thoughts this week, but the one I want to focus on is homelessness, meaninglessness, and our drug “crisis.”

I guess my libertarian side is coming out, because I think our talking heads have it all wrong, this week Trump especially. He has suggested that the homelessness situation in some of California's cities is a disaster.

It is, but it's not his problem …