Israel plows ahead with neutering its courts while Spain may have fended off the far right

I am not caught up.


Some of you may have seen notifications that I have terminated my home Internet service. It wasn’t about the cost, though it is an expensive service.

This story really begins long, long ago, in a galzaxy far, far way when I was a computer programmer. Okay, it was earth, late 1970s into the 1980s.

In those days, there was something called an error message. Like today, error messages could be opaque or ambiguous. But as a programmer, I could look at the code to try to begin to try to isolate the problem.

For the past couple weeks, at least, I’ve been having increasing problems on my home local network. No error message, no nothing. Just, it doesn’t work, duh.

This infuriates me anyway, but what has been even more infuriating was that I was unable to isolate the problem. I tore apart the network, put it back together again, step by step. Still couldn’t isolate the problem. I moved cables around. Still couldn’t isolate the problem.

Sunday night, it looked like the problem might actually be with Verizon FiOS. So I placed a service request. Their diagnostic process blamed my equipment—which is possible—but then the problem reappeared even with a direct connection.

Understand, I’m no longer getting anything done. Technology is not a hobby for me. It’s a field of endeavor that has repeatedly left me brutally unemployed while the arrogant and still employed make everything more unnecessarily difficult, mainly to stroke their own egos. I want my head to be elsewhere. That I’m having to fight this shit is even more infuriating.

But it also means I have the experience to know how this plays. So when I chatted with an agent to terminate the service and they tried desperately and repeatedly to promise me they’d get it fixed, even that day, I know better. This is, they come out, blame my equipment. I blame theirs. We get nowhere. And I’m not even a millimeter closer to resolving the problem with a service that’s costing me money—lots of it.

It’s an old problem really. If memory serves, they called this sort of thing a ‘gremlin’ as far back as World War II. It’s an extremely frustrating situation where you don’t know what’s wrong because everybody and everything points their fingers at somebody or something else. The only way to resolve it is to chuck everything out (that’s thousands of dollars of equipment) and start from scratch.

I’m going to have to move in a few months anyway. Perhaps I will try again at the new location. Only perhaps: I don’t ever want to go through this hell again.


Illiberalism


Fig. 1. Photograph by Joachim F. Thurn, August 1991, Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F089030-0003, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE.

I have gone ahead and subdivided the Illiberalism category. Pretty much any country (not yet Spain) with numerous stories now has its own page.

Barney Jopson, “Spain faces uncertain political future after election deadlock,” Financial Times, July 24, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/4ed90f29-5191-4197-a39b-13982eec86c9

Israel

“Ben Gvir is going to question my patriotism, as many times that I’ve been shot at, in three different wars?” [Amos Davidowitz] said with angry incredulity, tears in his eyes, referring to the minister’s challenges to the loyalty of protesting soldiers.[1]

Shira Rubin and Steve Hendrix, “In judicial overhaul protests, Israel’s soldiers face off against Netanyahu,” Washington Post, July 23, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/23/israel-judicial-overhaul-protests-military/

Dov Lieber and Shayndi Raice, “Israel Votes to Limit Supreme Court Powers in Approving Part of Netanyahu’s Judicial Overhaul, Sparking Mass Protests,” Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-netanyahu-government-judicial-overhaul-protests-862dffd3

Times of Israel, “Police clear Ayalon freeway as thousands rally against overhaul into night,” July 24, 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-july-24-2023/

Gilead

Abortion, reproductive freedom and health


Fig. 2. Sign at demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022. Janni Rye, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

The USA Today article is based on polls,[2] so the usual cautions apply.

Susan Page, “Bellwether? Ohio voters back abortion rights amendment in a test case for other states,” USA Today, July 24, 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/07/24/ohioans-back-abortion-rights-amendment-a-test-case-for-other-states/70413318007/

Migration

Priscilla Alvarez and Hannah Rabinowitz, “Justice Department sues to force Texas to remove floating barriers in Rio Grande,” Cable News Network, July 24, 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/24/politics/doj-texas-border-water-barriers/index.html


Imperialism

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 3. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[3] fair use.

Sarah Anne Aarup, Sergey Panov, and Douglas Busvine, “China secretly sends enough gear to Russia to equip an army,” Politico, July 24, 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/china-firms-russia-body-armor-bullet-proof-drones-thermal-optics-army-equipment-shanghai-h-win/

Melissa Lawford, “‘It’s guns versus butter’: Russia on the brink as Putin’s war chest empties,” Telegraph, July 24, 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2023/07/24/russia-economy-putin-war-cost-oil-revenues/

Ishaan Tharoor, “The moral dilemma of sending cluster munitions to Ukraine,” Washington Post, July 24, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/24/cluster-munitions-moral-dilemma-united-states-bombs/


  1. [1]Shira Rubin and Steve Hendrix, “In judicial overhaul protests, Israel’s soldiers face off against Netanyahu,” Washington Post, July 23, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/23/israel-judicial-overhaul-protests-military/
  2. [2]Susan Page, “Bellwether? Ohio voters back abortion rights amendment in a test case for other states,” USA Today, July 24, 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/07/24/ohioans-back-abortion-rights-amendment-a-test-case-for-other-states/70413318007/
  3. [3]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

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