July 13th, 2016

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Achievement unlocked: Saving communications infrastructure for all Americans

Nothing is certain, of course. But even more than the net neutrality decision, the FCC's little marked order to be adopted tomorrow concluding the rulemaking on the "tech transition" will shape our communictions infrastructure for the next 50 or so years. Thanks to 4 years of work by yours truly and a bunch of others, the FCC is adopting rules that make it possible for us to start the next phase of our infrastructure based on the values that gave us 96% penetration of voice, rather than the pure market based approach that has given us 80% penetration of broadband. The process, if carried out sucessfully and embraced by the local communities when the time comes, should ensure that vital services like 911 remain intact, we have a reasonable phase out of legacy technologies, and that EVERYONE -- including those traditionally excluded -- get an upgrade as we upgrade our communications infrastructure. It should also create thousands of good paying union jobs along the way.

I explain it all here.

I am particularly proud of this proceeding for a number of reasons. But most importantly, because it gives us the chance to for once, FOR ONCE, stop the inequality before it starts. 
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Just how thoroughly Ben Gurion and Golda screwed the pooch on Israel

So only now are we seeing Sepharadi and Mizrahi culture, which was the actual dominant Jewish culture in Israel until the Zionist movement, get taught in Israeli schools.

This gets to one of my serious irritants about the early secular Zionists who dominated the formation of the Jewish state and dominated its politics until the 1970s. They were a bunch of racist Europena schmucks who would gladly have styed in Europe if the non-Jews in Europe would have been willing to accept them. The actual idealized Israeli state that Ben Gurion and Golda Meir and other secular Zionists talked about was "Vienna on the Mediterannean." Despite the fact that slightly over 50% of Jews in Israel are of Sepharadi or Mizrahi dissent, they are still subject to racial discrimination and cultural elimination because the values of the Secular Zionists were institutionalized.

And while Rav Kook and the original religious Olim were better about this, the religious leadership has now become thoroughly contaminated with this sort of institutional racism. Mind you, this is also following a dramatic differntiation where various sects and practitioners think themselves superior to their fellow Jews (let alone non-Jews). The word used by these practitioners when they have dealings with others is mkalkilim, meaning "to make dirty." Mkalkilim! Is not God the Mikva of Israel? But even within this generally obnoxious elitism of an elect among the elect, one can find racist overtones.

But even so, the fact that Israel only now has to rediscover its actual Middle Eastern heritage  is an appaling artifact of the racism of too many European secular Zionists. it also has created fertile ground for the whole "colonialism" narrative. It is impossible for Israeli Jews to claim Israel as our ancestral home when blotting out our own native history. Likewise, the fact that the supposedly "white" Jewish population is about as "brown" as the surrounding non-Jewish countries (because that is where the majority are actually from) is obscured by the Israeli cultural prism of normalizing European Jewish ancestry and history.

OK, rant over now.