Friday, November 12, 2010

Germany passes unpopular health system reforms

Germany passes unpopular health system reforms

The German Chancellor Merkel has certainly taken some unpopular positions lately but generally Germany has acted like adults. They see a problem and (eventually) act correctly. They are making the hard decisions while places like Greece are slouching along.... like an unemployed brother camping out on the couch, popping cans of brew and eating all your food. The Germans know they must make the hard choices. They have already realized that the whole "integration" thing is not working. (See article here.) It took a long time but they realize it. I find it frightening because even though I agree that the problem is a lack of integration I'm not sure what they will say is the solution... if you know what I mean. If it means to change their educational programs to emphasize integration then great! I would support that. If they are suggesting sending back unemployed immigrants to their home countries, that makes a lot of sense when there are few jobs to be had, but history makes me nervous. We will see where this goes.

Right now, getting their medical system finances under control is a worthy goal. Allowing those to afford it to continue making their own arrangements is great. When the Titanic is going down, there is no sense in the people already in the lifeboats to jump into the water just to make everyone feel even. It is better to leave those folks already in the lifeboats alone and try to figure out how to pull more people into the lifeboats without swamping the boat.

Alex Shrugged
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mosquing the Real Problem

Gort Nation: 'Nuff Said

I was looking at this cartoon and realized it said more than one thing (as all cartoons should). The obvious is that Christians have forced Christianity upon the Native Americans (The Laws of Burgos, 1512-1513 CE). I suppose that is true enough. They did more than that but let's focus on that aspect for a moment. The Conquistadors came to America (mostly Central and South America) and took control with superior weapons.  They enslaved the population and for the most part forced them to Christianity. That was the way of the times. Before that the Spaniards had forced the Jews out of Spain (1492), killing many and forcing the rest to become conversos or the more denigrating term: "marranos". Many of these Crypto-Jews are living here in Texas and I have met such people here in Austin. Good people, but they have kept to themselves all these centuries, marrying only amongst themselves, not even realizing why they were hiding. I understand the issue with oppressive religious groups imposing their ideas upon another religious group.
Great Cordoba Cathedral-Mosque

It was the conquering of a portion of Spain by the Muslims that prompted the building of the Great Cordoba Mosque in 784 CE (the Common Era) over top of the Christian Church that once stood there. The area was recaptured by the Spaniards in 1236 CE and the mosque was converted to a church. Apparently it was not torn down but it was redesigned. My point is that during these times, the times of the Inquisition, many groups were fighting for supremacy of their religion and when they would conquer and area a long with that was subjugation of the population and removal of their sacred symbols. This was less true of the Christians than it was of the Muslims or Moors as they were called.
Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
Centuries before this the Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after taking the area in 637 CE.  Even today Jews are not allowed to visit the area. (BTW, this is not a particular hardship since according to Orthodox Jewish opinion, one should not step into the area in the first place. Certainly I would not even if I was given permission by the Muslims who control the area. Nevertheless I pray for the Temple to be rebuilt and I think the mosque should be removed in some agreeable fashion. How that would work in the current environment, I have no idea.)

The cartoon suggests that "one bad turn deserves another" or "you did it to others so you shall have it done to you" but that is the way it has always been. Since the cartoonist obviously thinks this is bad in principle, why continue it? Why not call a halt before it happens again? 

I apologize for not taking a firmer stance that the cartoonist has taken. I think the mosque could be built near the 9-11 site but it depends on the intent, frankly. If it is a convenience for the Muslims in the area then I have no problem with it, but as I understand the issue, there are few Muslims in the area. So why is it there? I believe it is there to make a statement and that is what people are objecting to.
Viewing Ground Zero
My other issue is the utter incompetence of New York City. They have been given billions of dollars and the insurance company has paid for the rebuilding of the Twin Towers. So why after 10 years has the building not been built? The mosque would not matter (no matter how large or small) if those towers had been rebuilt by now. Since they have not been rebuilt the Muslims building a mosque near there is an embarrassing reminder of the incompetence of New York City.

New York doesn't want to look at its own fault. They point to the mosque to hide their own shame.

-- Alex Shrugged