Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ta'anit Ester

Here's a link to an old post of mine on the subject of Ta-anit Esther (pick your preferred spelling).

And here's a little "Purim Torah" from

Enjoy your Purim!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A government of, by, and for the dollar

I've been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, but I couldn't figure out what to call it.

One possible choice of titles was "The 'kick-the-can-down the road' administration,"  because the Trump administration specializes in postponing long-term solutions to problems, appearing to believe that the next few generations should have the dubious privilege of dealing with any consequences of current (in)action.  Why worry about the environment now, when there's so much oil to be drilled?

Another possible title for this post was "Bread and circuses, U.S. version," because Trump's idea of how to be president seems to be to support tax breaks (while conveniently forgetting to mention that they're temporary), appear at campaign rallies that he re-started almost as soon as he was elected, and maybe even provide his supporters with a military parade.

But this week was the killer.

Literally.  :(

Seventeen people dead, and not a word about stricter gun laws.  In fact, under Trump, a regulation that would have made it more difficult for people with certain mental illnesses to obtain guns was repealed before ever going into effect.

This latest mass murder was followed, the very next day, by an attempt to change the Americans with Disabilities Act to practically guarantee that persons with disabilities will be discriminated against.

“ . . . the bill, if enacted, would essentially gut the ADA’s provisions dealing with public accommodations by removing any incentive that businesses have to comply with the law before a complaint is filed.
“We know of no other law that outlaws discrimination but permits entities to discriminate with impunity until victims experience that discrimination and educate the entities perpetrating it about their obligations not to discriminate,” said a September letter from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities signed by more than 200 disability rights groups. “Such a regime is absurd, and would make people with disabilities second-class citizens.”

Any attempt to gut the ADA hits close to home, since our son is hard of hearing.

If you want to know what the Trump government is all about, just follow the money.

Because anything that Trump and his supporters can do to pursue profit and avoid payment, they'll do, no matter what the consequences.

Who cares about global climate change, when there's still coal to be mined?

Who cares about medical insurance for all, when it costs businesses money?

Who cares about regulating the amount that pharmaceutical companies are permitted to charge for prescription drugs, as long as they're making a killing.

Who cares how many people die in mass murders (or even one by one), as long as gun manufacturers and sellers can make big bucks?

Who cares whether the U.S. ends up in yet another war, since the military-industrial complex (which ex-general President Eisenhower warned about all the way back in 1961) needs to earn a profit?

Who cares how many people die in the U.S. in train crashes that could have been prevented with the use of positive train control, given that that safety system costs so much to install?

Who cares whether Puerto Rico ever gets its electric power, cell phone service, safe drinking water, and roads restored after last year's hurricanes, if that's going to cost money?

It just makes me hopping mad that my country's stated ideal of  being one nation . . . indivisible seems to have been abandoned by Trump and his supporters in favor of a divide-and-conquer approach.  Pitting whites against people of color, U.S.-born citizens against immigrants (both legal and illegal), Christians against Muslims, heterosexuals against the LGBTQI community, persons with typical abilities against persons with disabilities, states against territories, urban areas against suburban and rural areas, "the coasts" against "the fly-over states," and literally half of the U.S. population against the other half ("grab them by the [unmentionable]" vs. "Time's Up")--did I miss anyone?--is a brilliant strategy for distracting us from the current policy of robbing the poor to feed the rich.

The U.S. Congress recently passed, and President Trump signed into law, a huge tax cut aimed mainly at wealthy individuals and corporations.  Now, the Trump supporters in Congress have the unmitigated gall to complain that providing benefits and services increases the deficit--that's the very same deficit that they just increased all by themselves by decreasing taxes.  It's not that they don't understand the connection between the amount of money raised through taxation and the amount of money available for the government to spend--it's that they don't care.  I'm absolutely livid.

[The inspiration for this post's title, from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, is " . . . government of the people, by the people, for the people . . . "]
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