Quadrophobia — Working the Numbers


Working the Numbers

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 26th, 2023


In the huge uproar surrounding the sudden sacking, and even more unexpected rehiring of Sam Altman at ChatGPT, and the revitalization of discussion over the benefits and perils of Artificial Intelligence, there was a throw-away line in one article that seized my attention.

The line stated, with no elaboration, that their AI program had solved a math formula problem that it hadn’t seen before. Being a mainstream media source, it didn’t elaborate, since numbers bigger than about six hurt readers, make branes hurt.

Michael Parekh on his blog “AI: Reset to Zero” elaborated in a much more meaningful way:

“In the following months, senior OpenAI researchers used the innovation to build systems that could solve basic math problems, a difficult task for existing AI models. Jakub Pachocki and Szymon Sidor, two top researchers, used Sutskever’s work to build a model called Q* (pronounced “Q-Star”) that was able to solve math problems that it hadn’t seen before, an important technical milestone. A demo of the model circulated within OpenAI in recent weeks, and the pace of development alarmed some researchers focused on AI safety.

“The work of Sutskever’s team, which has not previously been reported, and the concern inside the organization, suggest that tensions within OpenAI about the pace of its work will continue even after Altman was reinstated as CEO Tuesday night, and highlights a potential divide among executives. (See more about the safety conflicts at OpenAI.)

“Last week, Pachocki and Sidor were among the first senior employees to resign following Altman’s ouster. Details of Sutskever’s breakthrough, and his concerns about AI safety, help explain his participation in Altman’s high-profile ouster, as well as why Sidor and Pachocki resigned quickly after Altman was fired. The two returned to the company after Altman’s reinstatement.” ( https://michaelparekh.substack.com/p/ai-doing-the-reasoning-math-reliably )

Solving previously unseen math problems is HUGE. It involves extrapolative logic, something computers have not been able to accomplish. The vast majority of humans can’t manage that. I’m going to give you an example:

3 + 14t − 5t2 = 0

OK, most of you will recognize that with widely varying degrees of fondness from middle school or perhaps high school. It’s called a quadratic, and it was a sneaky introduction to the basics of calculus. Most teachers couldn’t be arsed to explain what those were for back in my day, and the best ones would come up with seemingly incoherent examples, such as measuring the perimeter area of a room around a carpet, or what happens if you toss a ball in the air at a certain speed. There are, in fact, a lot of occupations where they can be massively useful, but for most students they were just an annoying form of sudoku. Just to add to the general merriment, quadratics had two solutions, one of which was physically impossible. In this case, the solutions are t =−0.2 or t = 3. Three is the one that is possible. You could make a graph from quadratics which is where my brane broke and it had to be sent off to the knackers. I was left with a choice: be an innumerate annoying smart-ass, or be a Republican. You decide.

Now suppose you had never ever seen a quadratic before in your life. Would you be able to figure out what its purpose was? From that, could you solve it, knowing you would have to factor it and possibly use the imaginary number i, the square root of minus one?

Hell, most of you DID take quadratics in grade seven, taught by Ben Stein’s boring brother, and you couldn’t even begin to start on it. I did, but I admit I looked up the answer to make sure I hadn’t embarrassed myself. Just don’t ask me to draw a chart. The results would probably be painful for both of us.

OK, so this algorithm looked at some math function it hadn’t seen before, and, understanding only the variables, the operatives, and the numbers themselves, worked out the correct answer on its own. I don’t know that it was a quadratic that was the formula or what, but it represents a huge step forward, the first time a computer has demonstrated autonomous intellectual logic.

There are a lot of very genuine concerns about AI (I recently read a very good SF novel about an AI tasked with preparing the North American West Coast against a Cascadian fault movement of 9.0, forestalling the quake itself by planned explosives and moving fifty or so million people out of harm’s way. Someone made the horrible mistake of feeding the AI a concept of Occam’s Razor, “The simplest solution is usually the best.” Armed with that, the AI realizes the smart and efficient thing is to just let ‘er rip, cost less, and have much less rebuilding to do afterward because there would be less people. So it let the earthquake proceed.)

Of course AI has been a popular notion in SF going back to the first robot novel, “RUR,” back in 1927. Even in the 60’s, it was assumed that if you just gave a computer enough processing power and data, it would “wake up,” like Mycroft Holmes (Mike) in Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” It’s clearly much more involved then that (even back then, I viewed the “wake up” notion as being similar to stacking hamburger meat seven feet high and getting a basketball player).

But it also appears that the point of self-awareness is now very near, and autonomous decision making really does need something like Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics:

  • The First Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

  • The Second Law: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • The Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

If we want machines to have autonomous judgment, we need to up our game and have some autonomous judgment of our own. Asimov made a career of finding loopholes and workarounds in his own three laws. For us, the work will be far more difficult, and the consequences far further reaching.

Frank Zappa and the Dominionists — He would have been appalled, but oh, the songs he would write!

Frank Zappa and the Dominionists

He would have been appalled, but oh, the songs he would write!

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 19th, 2023


While noodling around Facebook today, I came across this quote, attributed to the legendary musician Frank Zappa: “Socialism produces bad music, bad art, social stagnation, and really unhappy people.”

Well, that didn’t really sound like Zappa, who, while a staunch idealistic libertarian, openly admired the freedoms and personal spaciousness afforded by such socialist countries such as Finland, Sweden, France or Denmark. He would have understood that socialism isn’t what most Americans think it is. On that, he did say: “Communism doesn’t work because it is out of phase with human nature. Are we going to wake up one day to find this statement equally true when applied to the concept of Western democracy?” He did know the difference. He was a fierce defender of personal and artistic rights, and respected societies that observed those rights, having little interest in the political apparatus that was involved. On that he said, “Government is the Entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.” Oh, yeah. Current events sure support that notion.

I did look to see if the socialism quote held up to scrutiny, since as Geoffrey Chaucer once famously observed, “Depende not what thou mightst encountre upon thee internets and lendist not unto it thy minde, for it bee swarming with crappe.” The only source I could find (uncited) was on a ‘mens’ rights website. So safe to assume he never said it.

I doubt Frank would be impressed with what passes for Libertarianism these days, and may well have seen it as fascism in drag, a cynical ploy by moneyed interests to strip government and people of power in order to create a power vacuum for churches and corporations to fill. He regarded those as threats to freedoms and creativity, saying: “The biggest threat to America today is not communism, it’s moving America toward a fascist theocracy, and everything that’s happened during the Reagan administration is steering us right down that pipe. […] When you have a government that prefers a certain moral code derived from a certain religion and that moral code turns into legislation to suit one certain religious point of view, and if that code happens to be very very right wing, almost toward Attila the Hun.”

Now, comparing the fascist right to Attila the Hun would be considered mild. We have a Hitler-spouting authoritarian as the lead candidate for President in one major party, and the second-in-line for the entire country an open Dominionist who wants to subject the citizenry to his own toxic brand of Christianity.

I suspect Zappa would be appalled.

Certainly the Founders would be. Mike Johnson, the so-called Speaker who wants Jesus as King of America said, “The separation of church and state is a misnomer. People misunderstand it. Of course, it comes from a phrase that was in a letter that Jefferson wrote. It’s not in the Constitution. And what he was explaining is they did not want the government to encroach upon the church — not that they didn’t want principles of faith to have influence on our public life. It’s exactly the opposite.”

He’s referring, of course, to the Danbury letter in which Jefferson wrote, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.” While Jefferson was reassuring the Danbury Baptists that government would not be used against them, what they were concerned about were non-Baptists. Non-Baptists, using government to repress them or punish them for not being of the True Faith. They, like Jefferson and nearly all of the Founders, came from the British Isles, which had, at that time, a long and storied history of various factions within Christianity seizing secular power and using it to promote themselves and punish and repress others. Jefferson in particular loathed Britain’s Test Act, which denied public office to Catholics, Jews, and other non-believers. He insisted on the “No Religious Test” phrase in the Constitution, which, by its own language, is the only phrase in the Constitution which cannot be amended. “shall EVER be…” is what follows. He wanted anyone of any faith to be able to hold office, but he also wanted to make damned sure that none of those office-holders would abuse it to promote their own faith at the expense of others.

Far right nativists in America like to claim they are of “Scots-Irish” descent, a term that makes about as little sense as “Judeo-Christian.” Scotland and Ireland are two different lands, culturally and socially, and as a rule don’t like one another very much. But both, along with England, have people whose ancestors were punished, imprisoned, sometimes killed for being a member of the wrong religion at the wrong time. For Jefferson and the Danbury Baptists, that was recent history. In fact, in the UK it was also future history: freedom of religion wasn’t formally codified until 1998. Until then, it was illegal for a Catholic to be prime minister (yes, Tony Blair lied about his religious beliefs to hold office), and the monarch must still be Anglican. Scotland and Wales didn’t have separation of church and state until the early 1920s. Every year, England celebrates Guy Fawkes day. It’s a harmless and festive event now, fun for the whole family, but it started out celebrating Catholic traitors by burning them in effigy.

Dominionists don’t understand their their own country nor their own religion. And they don’t know history, which teaches that all theocracies, without exception, become cruel, corrupt and incompetent because the source authority is forever silent and thus easy for monsters, such as Johnson and Trump, to “interpret.” Dominionists are the yellow snow of politics.

Frank Zappa would have used something stronger than “Attila the Hun” to describe it. Cromwell, perhaps, or Pope Benedict IX, or even Hitler.

I’m glad he isn’t here to see this. But oh! The songs he could write!

No Labels, No Brains — They’ll appeal to Never Trumpers, and nobody else

No Labels, No Brains

They’ll appeal to Never Trumpers, and nobody else

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 12th, 2023


Progressives have been all a-flutter over the so-called “moderate movement” calling itself “No Labels.” In fact, it’s neither moderate nor a movement. It lacks a platform, a goal, a focus, identifiable leadership or, for that matter, actual followers. I don’t think it even has House or Senate candidates yet.

The fuss ratcheted up this week when Joe Manchin (D-Coal) announced he wouldn’t be running for office again. Rumors immediately started that he would be the lead presidential candidate for the No Hopers instead of ancient Joe Lieberman (D-AIPAC). This would surely split the Democratic vote, giving Trump a second term even if he only got 38% of the vote, like Lincoln did. (Astute readers will note that I don’t perceive any other similarities between Trump and Lincoln, starting with the fact that Lincoln didn’t look like a Kewpie Doll mated with a Bratwurst).

Of course, Manchin has no popularity at all with any Democrats outside of West Virginia. He’s no more popular than Joe Lieberman or Kyrsten Sinema. He, like those other two, is a corporate creature, more likely to vote with the Heritage Foundation than with Joe Biden. The Foundation (which I often refer to as the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues) had considerable sway in the Democratic Party starting with Bill Clinton, when the “New Democratic” wave embraced the stances of moderate Republicans and weakened labor and consumer rights and gave big business free rein.

Adopting “Reaganomics Lite” worked out about the way Reaganomics did, and now the bloom has fallen off that particular rose. You may have noticed that labor unions have staged a huge comeback in recent years, and voter approval of unions has risen from a low in the high thirties twenty years ago to the mid seventies now. Largely successful attacks on women’s rights, voter rights, and the rights of minorities have sharpened focus on the realization that the American right is no ally to the American people. Even if you don’t care about women, voters or minorities, you have to be pretty damned daft not to realize that they will come for you next.

Being pro-business isn’t a great voter draw when most voters are realizing that big business is not their friend and savior.

Joe Manchin would be running as the Heritage Foundation candidate, which means he’ll be effectively be the Libertarian candidate, and he’ll stay very quiet about civil rights, income equality, and the rights of workers and consumers. He’ll be in the extremely awkward position of hoping the zealots and neo-nazis will continue to loudly identify with Trump whilst secretly voting for him, which isn’t very likely.

In theory, Joe Lieberman is supposed to draw the Jewish vote, but I don’t think he did that very well in 2000 when he was Al Gore’s running mate. I suspect most American Jews who voted Democratic looked at Lieberman, held their noses, and voted for Al Gore because they liked Al Gore. And now his perceived ties to Netanyahu will flat-out alienate him from most Jews and a large majority of Democratic voters. Even if the slaughter in Gaza ended tomorrow, it’s the sort of thing voters will remember a year later. There was a time when supporting Netanyahu meant you were pro-Israel and thus one of the good guys, but Netanyahu’s viciousness and corruption has made that a thing of the past.

Speaking of viciousness and corruption, there’s the matter of Trump. The media are frantically pretending that he isn’t just viable, but the only possible candidate the Republicans will have next year. That makes several large assumptions. First, there’s the very real possibility that Trump will be appealing several large felony convictions before the election, if not flat-out in jail. If some idiot tries to shoot one of the judges or court officials and then blabs that he did it for Trump, Trump’s odds of staying out of prison effectively drop to zero. Trump might say something under oath that will really finish him off, legally, such as boasting that he sold national secrets to Putin. That might sound like an insane thing for him to do, but that’s another issue in itself that I’ll get to in a minute. Two minutes, if you’re a slow reader.

Second, the fiasco that is the House of Representatives may alienate millions of voters from the GOP. They’ve tried like hell to blame Democrats for that insane mess, but that hasn’t worked. If they blow it with the budget next week (and I’m as close to certain as I will ever get that they will) voters will know it was they who fucked things up. Blaming the bad economy on the Democrats won’t work.

Third, public outrage over such things as the Dobbs decision and gerrymandering isn’t going away, and the No Labels crowd don’t dare take a stand on those. Remember, they want to play footsie with the MAGAts and don’t want to piss them off without sounding like the Me-Tooers running against Trump in the GOP.

Third is the matter of age. Manchin is mentally and physically in far better shape than Trump, but he’s no spring chicken. He was born in 1947, which means he’ll be 77 next year. Trump, if he’s still alive, will be 79, and Biden 81. Guess which of the three I think is in the best shape, physically and mentally? Bingo! In one. Biden, of course. Manchin is close. Trump isn’t.

As for Trump, if he isn’t dead or in jail, there’s a possibility he’ll be drooling in a wheelchair and slapping irritably but ineffectually at the day nurse who is trying to feed him his Ensure. The man is in bad shape and declining rapidly. When he isn’t insisting that he’s still the President, he now seems to think Obama is still the President.

His speeches are getting wilder and nastier. He’s actually using some of the same language that Hitler used, saying that liberals and socialists are “vermin” who need to be eradicated. His followers may be the biggest bunch of dumb bastards in American history, but at least some of them are going to notice just how dangerously erratic he has become, and look to Manchin as an alternative.

So: let’s assume a three way race next year. The Greens aren’t going to matter, especially since Biden has adopted a lot of their platform, and the No Labels will make the Libertarians redundant. Three candidates: Biden, Trump, Manchin.

Trump maght get about 30% of the vote. His ceiling is 35%, and his floor is about 20%, assuming he stays out of jail and is still capable of running. Manchin might get 10% of the Democratic vote, and it’s reasonable to assume he’ll get the Never-Trumper Republican vote. So he might get 30% of the vote. Maybe. Americans generally don’t like third party candidates, and if the No Labels party don’t get cracking and get candidates in all 435 Congressional races and 34 Senate races, then their presidential candidate will be a no-hoper fluke, doomed even if he could somehow win.

That leaves Biden with a rock-bottom minimum of 40% of the vote, and that’s assuming a sour economy and the House getting its act together, if too late for the economy. Realistically, the vote would probably go 60-25-15 and Biden would win 40 states. Most of the independent voters would go for him, and Manchin will peel off far more Republican votes than Democratic.

So ignore the pundits who say Manchin has doomed Biden and the Democrats. The opposite is true.

This election remains Biden’s to lose.

“The Lady Said ‘No’” — Voters reject abortion and book bans, zealot rule, and Trump

The Lady Said ‘No’”

Voters reject abortion and book bans, zealot rule, and Trump

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 9th, 2023


Off-off-year elections usually don’t make the front page, other than in the local areas and handful of states where they occur. Normally there’s little reason to care if some state you never plan to live in wants to amend their constitution, or a congressional district is voting to replace a deceased member of the House. In normal times, school board elections are of little interest, even in the school districts in which they occur. It’s not uncommon for a winner to be elected with less than 5% of the eligible vote, even when the local high school football team is losing. Normally a typical voter wouldn’t be able to name a single member of his own State Supreme Court, or even if the members were elected or appointed. Said voter might remember something or other about someone running for judge unopposed. Fratzweiner, something like that. Boy judge or girl judge? Can’t remember if a vote was cast or not.

But these are fraught times, with America facing an ongoing coup from the far right. And as has happened before in history, the haters of democracy and freedom are trying to use those very foundations of society in order to rid themselves of democracy and freedom. So voters were confronted with religious zealots who want to ban abortion, books, and even science. They had to choose between little Trump clones and never-Trumpers. There were even candidates who openly stated that the voters should have no role on the candidates or issues upon which they were running for votes.

Despite hundreds of millions of dollars from right wing propaganda pits (aka the National Associations of Zealots and Ideologues) and thousands of air-time hours spend by the Lord Haw-Haws and Tokyo Roses from the far right, and the threats, open and implied, from Trump and the MAGAts, the voters slapped down the far right resoundingly.

In Ohio, voters amended the state constitution to ensure the right to safe and legal abortions by a whopping half-million votes, 56.6% to 43.4%. Only a long-overdue measure to legalize cannabis for personal use was more popular (it got 57% of the vote). In Kentucky, the Democratic governor Andy Bashear, who was elected by a 5,000 vote margin in 2019, walloped his opponent, Daniel Cameron, by 67,000 votes. Cameron pretended to be a “moderate” on abortion, offering a horrible ‘split the baby’ compromise of banning abortion after 15 weeks. Worse, he tried to be a McConnell corporate fascist AND a Trump neo-Nazi at the same time, which only exacerbated the rift between Republicans who want to destroy the United States and Republicans who merely want to own it.

Even infamous Shasta County followed the trend. I was a bit surprised they had results, given they were insisting on hand-counting votes at last word (the state had ordered them to use the machines, which may be the totals reported unofficially). But then, only 6,000 votes were cast. In any event, Casey Bowden, a moderate who said he’s focused on giving teachers confidence to do their jobs, handily beat Camille King a “parental rights” advocate by a 58-42 margin.

In Kentucky, Democrats not only maintained control of the Senate, but took back the House.

Two states bucking the tide were Mississippi, where being related to Elvis Presley wasn’t enough (Republican Tate Reeves beat the Tupelo Honey 51-47) and Maine, which resoundingly rejected creation of a public-owned electric utility.

But mostly it was rejection of authoritarians and Republicans in general across the board. Moms for Liberty, the anti-trans book-banning hate group had been an ascendant force in 2022, and now found themselves on the losing end in over 60% of the school board races they participated in. Quite a few of the losers were running as incumbents.

Republican reaction was about what you might expect. Trump blamed McConnell in particular and RINOs in general, even though Trump-backed and Trump-supporting candidates performed even more dismally than the “mainstream” Republican candidates. MAGAts claimed the GOP was too moderate and needed to bear down on electing Trump, eliminating separation of church and state, banning abortion AND birth control, and imprisoning criminals, including refugees, Palestinians, and members of the FBI or IRS. One GOP candidate in NY who lost by a 70-20 margin howled that all Jews should leave New York City immediately because the Nazis had won. Mental health may have been an issue there.

The New York Times trying to game the elections with an amazingly fortuitous Siena polls just days before the election that claimed Trump was leading Biden in six key states, all of which Biden had won in 2020. Siena is a privately owned college (by the Franciscans) and I was unable to find their methodology beyond a claim that 600 where interviewed in each state, and a bland assurance that it was evenly spread to reflect the population at large, neither of which inspire much confidence in the accuracy of the poll.

But boy, I bet it sold newspapers and got lots of visits to the NYT website! Long time readers will recall that the Times flat out lied about the results of a in-depth survey of the vote count in Florida in 2000, and of course cheer-led and lied about the run-up to war with Iraq a couple of years later. An “independent” poll showing spectacular if problematic results gives them hits and plausible deniability, all at once. Win-win!

But it seems the voters weren’t interested in such efforts to pump up Trump and the GOP, and resoundingly rejected both.

Netanyahu versus Hamas — Terrorists and Tyrants versus the world

Netanyahu versus Hamas

Terrorists and Tyrants versus the world

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 4th, 2023


I was one of the first voices expressing concern for the welfare of the civilians in Gaza in the face of a reaction by Benjamin Netanyahu that I knew, based on the man’s record, would be vicious and murderous and disproportionate, yes, even disproportionate to the hideous crimes Hamas committed.

We’ve been to this rodeo before, of course. After the attacks on the Twin Towers which killed some three thousand innocent people, America overreacted with two wars against countries that played no role in the 9/11 attacks, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and setting America back, politically and diplomatically, by decades.

Mind you, America wasn’t ruled by a vicious authoritarian tyrant. It was run by a soulless and opportunistic capitalist, Dick Cheney, and his feckless puppet president, George W. Bush.

They had some of the same motives for their response that Netanyahu has now. They wanted to show they were responding in order to deflect from misjudgments and incompetence that a) gave rise to a determined foe intent on asymmetric warfare and b) provided an opportunity for said foes to attack. They, like Netanyahu, wanted to ride a huge wave of rage and revulsion against the attacks. They might have shared that wave of outrage, but mostly they needed to spackle over their unpopular and corrupt regimes.

But where the two governments parted was that where Cheney and Bush were sniffing after money and economic power, Netanyahu is motivated by hatred and a willingness to use fear to punish his enemies and frighten the rest into submission. He is cut from the same mold as every tyrant in history, like Orbán or Jong-Il or Stalin or—yes—Hitler. I got my measure of the man 30 years ago, when he went out of his way to desecrate a Mosque as a part of this campaign. He views Palestinians – and it’s safe to say all Moslems – exactly the way Hitler viewed Jews; both as objects of personal hate, and as scapegoats to try to ride public hatred to power, a tidal wave of vomit and vile.

So the immediacy of his response is no surprise. Given his way, he would cheerfully slaughter every Palestinian on the face of the Earth. And he’s doing it in the name of a nation founded on the premise that monsters like him must never again be allowed to wreak havoc on entire populations out of hatred.

Which brings us to a second great branching. Most Israelis, in overwhelming numbers, have NOT forgotten the lessons of history. They see what Netanyahu is doing and are appalled. When 9/11 happened, Bush’s popularity ratings went from 35% approval to the mid 90s literally overnight. Netanyahu’s approval ratings were around 35% and have actually DROPPED since the attack on Gaza began.

Hamas are terrorists and must be stopped. Netanyahu is a tyrant, and he, too, must be stopped. In a just world, he and his main supporters would be locked up for life in a cell with the leaders of Hamas. Let them sort it out for themselves.

The people of Gaza are not responsible for the actions of Hamas, just as the people of Israel are not responsible for Netanyahu. Yes, both were elected, both by a relatively small percentage of the population. Are you responsible for Trump? Two-thirds of Americans despise the man, don’t want him anywhere near power ever again. If he were to reobtain power, his death toll would easily exceed Netanyahu’s, since he is a vengeful, petty, vicious little man who has far more enemies and needs far more scapegoats than does Netanyahu. Nonetheless, there’s a very real risk he could end up in the Oval Office again. Are you responsible? Would it be right to bomb you or launch terrorist attacks against you because you have a despicable leader?

The conflict has given rise to all sorts of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Both, I note, are phrases so common I didn’t need to teach them to my spell checker, and isn’t that a depressing indication of human fallibility? We all heard about the insane bastard that killed the six year old boy here in the States for “being Palestinian,” but the grim reality is that all people who look Semitic or even dress differently are at risk from people filled with ersatz moral rage over the conflict. Swastikas are getting painted on Synagogues and other places associated with Jews. Anyone with brown skin and a beard is at risk, or any woman with a head coverings. (It was only three generations ago that most London women wore scarves over their heads when they went out. Would they dare do so in today’s “free” America?) Sikhs are being targeted, even though they are neither Jewish or Islamic. But they look different. That’s enough for the “Haters against Hate” crowd.

I don’t know many Jews who support what Netanyahu is doing (and their numbers are dwindling) and I don’t know any Moslems who support Hamas. The vast majority are simply appalled at the killing and want it to stop—just like most of the rest of us.

Only a fool or a hater supports Netanyahu or Hamas. If you want to spray paint swastikas on images of Netanyahu, or send Hamas messages that they are najis and a disgrace in the eyes of Allah, go right ahead. It isn’t very nice, but at least you aren’t attacking innocents.

But what’s happening in Gaza isn’t a Jewish thing. It isn’t an Islamic thing. It isn’t an Israeli thing, not really. And it isn’t a Palestinian thing.

The people of Gaza, and the people of Israel, and their respective faiths are just innocents caught in the grindstone between terrorists and tyrants.

Too many innocents—on both sides and on all sides—have died already.


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