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On The Left

Net neutrality: There are very good reasons to retain it

With all the news about sexual abuse, weather disasters and government impropriety, the very important issue of internet neutrality has escaped broad public scrutiny. This is the week, if not the day, when your access to the internet may become controlled by government and/or business imposed rules that you will never be able to change. Some of the biggest players in the internet space are trying to achieve a seemingly minor but actually profound change in how the internet delivers information to you. The internet is about to be monetized.

Talking about taxation

The good, the bad and ...

The GOP tax plan is a classic example of good ideas mixed with bad ideas and salted with outright greed. But like most human initiatives, it has good intention, no matter how deranged. Perfection is not a part of the human condition. Trump is not working to hurt America. He just doesn’t know how to fix it. To be fair, many of his predecessors didn’t either. At least he has not started a 17-year war.

The buck stops elsewhere

When I was a child, my grandparents took me to a famous old resort. Among many pleasures, there was the equivalent of a bubblegum dispenser where, for a nickel, one could buy a handful of fish food to feed the teeming trout in the sparkling cold lake. The fish would roil and snatch each pellet of food even before it hit the water. There were more fish than there was water for them to swim in. 

So it was on a recent Friday when Trump addressed the ‘values summit’ in Washington.

Disasters

Disasters come in many flavors, and we have seen quite the box of chocolates of late. There have been natural disasters such as earthquakes in Mexico and mudslides in China and monster hurricanes, all of which are natural and will happen. We have seen a human-inflicted disaster in Las Vegas, which we all knew was as inevitable as an earthquake. 

The rules of the game

Mr. Trump always uses two teleprompters, as do most politicians. But I wonder metaphorically if it is so he can say different things to different people from one side of his face or the other, and hope listeners won’t notice the difference.

Consider his trips to Florida to show sensitivity to their disaster plight. That was a nice thing to do. Those people who wanted to hear those words did so and were pleased. But then on that same day, he turned and told the DACA people that they would soon be deported because they are “illegal.”

Do not let the internet be privatized

Some of the biggest players in the internet space are trying to achieve a seemingly minor but actually profound change in the way the internet delivers information to you. The internet is about to be moneti$ed. Some companies are proposing that they be able to pay for preferred delivery of internet packets (a fixed size of digital data much like a tweet is 140 characters) presumably based on some promise of helping to pay for a grander internet infrastructure “for the benefit of taxpayers.” 

Selling military hardware and technology

Now it is time to be scared. Trump is not just selling a record amount of military hardware to the Saudis, as has been widely reported, but he is also selling something more.

I am not anti-Saudi. I think their foreign minister is absolutely brilliant, and that they have legitimate reasons to be concerned about Yemen. 

But much of the new military hardware we are about to supply to the Saudis is going to be used, not for defense, but for offense in Yemen to support the regime that they prefer. 

Understanding the changes in our planet’s climate

Global warming: This is something that Mr. Trump clearly does not understand. What is under the blanket of “greenhouse gases”? What is really causing climate change? A blanket on your bed does not make warmth. It only keeps you warm while you are under it. You are the source of the warmth itself.

A sincere reply to Monica from Philip

You are absolutely right to require that all terms be defined. I have corrected innumerable student papers telling them to define their terms, and I apologize that I did not do so myself. “Left” as opposed to “right” is often considered to be “liberal” rather than “conservative.” I, however, respect intelligent conservationism.