Monday, March 27, 2017

Education and Pablum. Oh Canada! Robots and Gates. Is Change In The Air At The U.N?

Oh Canada!
Google Richard A. Falk, if you want to understand what is wrong with the U.N and education on American College Campuses.

Turn education into Pablum. (See 1 below.)
Amb. Dermer maintains no daylight exists between U.S and Israel.  I had his comments confirmed that Dermer was not blowing smoke.Time will tell.

I have been a member of AIPAC for over 40 years and have attended their annual meetings but physically it is too difficult to go so I get reports instead.  (See 2 below.)
Several months ago I began a discussion regarding the impact of robots and driverless cars and trucks.  The point of the discussion is they are coming, will have a significant impact on employment, on tax revenue and the way we live and conduct ourselves. Rather than fight the inevitable it is far wiser to begin a discussion so we can anticipate some of the dislocation and benefits that will occur.

In the article below Bill Gates discusses his thoughts regarding robots and their impact.

It is not too early to start anticipating. (See 3 below.)
1) Wellesley Profs: No Controversial Ideas on Our Campus, Please

Hillary Clinton’s alma mater made headlines this week when a group of professors sent out an extraordinary email detailing their thoughts on how outside campus speakers should be chosen. Wellesley College faculty belonging to the Commission for Ethnicity, Race, and Equity recommended a litany of criteria that, as critics have said, would severely curtail the spectrum of ideas that have a place on campus.
In the email, the faculty made the declaration that inviting controversial speakers to the Wellesley campus was an imposition on “the liberty of students, staff, and faculty at Wellesley,” and forced them down the dark road of investing “time and energy in rebutting the speakers’ arguments.”
Because if there’s one thing we don’t want our students to do, it’s think too much about their own beliefs. We want them to merely accept those beliefs as the truth; any ideas that could counteract those beliefs are dangerous and must be censored.
Do you think anyone at the Wellesley campus would care if the UFO club invited some kook to come talk about visitors from the planet Zulitron? Probably not, because no one’s concerned that Mr. Zulitron’s ideas will catch on. They’re absurd, and they can be seen as absurd by the vast majority of people. And those who can’t see the absurdity, well, there’s nothing you can do about those people, so there’s no point in worrying about it.
No, ideas are only scary when they force you to question what you currently believe. Colleges like to pretend that they are anti-indoctrination centers, there to expand the mind and break you out of the little world you grew up in. Maybe they were, at one point. Maybe they still are, in some ways.

WATCH: Speech Of New UN Secretary-General That Has Caused Palestinian Seething

A few days ago, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, António Guterres, the new UN Secretary-General, gave the following speech, which caused palestinian hysterics.

We are here to honour the victims of the Holocaust, an unparalleled crime against humanity.
We are together to mourn the loss of so many and of so much.
The world has a duty to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people and so many others.
I am humbled by the presence here today of Holocaust survivors. Thank you for bearing witness across seven decades so that others may live in dignity. There is no better education for the future than the guarantee that we will always be able to remember the past and to honour the victims of the tragedies of that past.
I would like to pay tribute to one survivor in particular, Elie Wiesel, who passed away last year. He became one of the world’s most passionate voices for mutual respect and acceptance, and the United Nations was proud to have him as one of our Messengers of Peace.
It would be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis. On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of hatred and discrimination targeting the Jews – what we now call anti-Semitism.
Imperial Rome not only destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but also made Jews pariahs in many ways. The attacks and abuse grew worse through the triumph of Christianity and the propagation of the idea that the Jewish community should be punished for the death of Jesus – an absurdity that helped to trigger massacres and other tremendous crimes against Jews around the world for centuries to come.
The same happened in my own country, Portugal, reaching its height with the order by King Manuel in the 16th century expelling all Jews who refused to convert. This was a hideous crime and an act of enormous stupidity. It caused tremendous suffering to the Jewish community – and deprived Portugal of much of the country’s dynamism. Before long, the country entered a prolonged cycle of impoverishment.
Many Portuguese Jews eventually settled in the Netherlands. Lisbon’s loss was Amsterdam’s gain, as the Portuguese Jewish community played a key role in transforming the Netherlands into the global economic powerhouse of the 17th century.
The Portuguese example also demonstrates that anti-Semitism, more than a question of religion, is essentially an expression of racism. The proof is that the converted Jews, the so-called “new Christians”, faced discrimination by the old Christians, and suffered continued persecution by the Portuguese Inquisition.
When I became Prime Minister in 1995, I felt it was absolutely necessary, even if only with a symbolic gesture, to demonstrate my country’s rejection and repentance of Portugal’s
merciless attacks against the Jewish community.
In 1996, Parliament revoked the letter of expulsion. I then had the honour of visiting the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam to formally present a copy of that decree and apologize on behalf of my country. Tragically, that beautiful synagogue was almost empty, because the community Portugal had expelled was almost completely destroyed by the Holocaust. Anti-Semitism always tends to come back.
Portugal recently adopted a law allowing the descendants of those expelled in the 16th century to regain Portuguese nationality. Last year, more than 400 took advantage of this offer.
I am also very proud to note that just a few weeks ago, my wife signed, on behalf of the Lisbon Municipality, an agreement with the Israeli Community of Lisbon to establish the Lisbon Jewish Museum. This will be a way to pay tribute to the memory of those my country mistreated so badly.
History keeps moving forward, but anti-Semitism keeps coming back.
The renowned scholar Simon Schama has noted that in the 19th century, Jews were even blamed for modernity, including for disasters of international finance in which they themselves were among the first victims.
Schama also noted that Jews often faced a lose-lose situation. When they successfully integrated and came to “look like” anyone else, they became subjects of suspicion. Others who looked different were blamed for that, too. Both groups came together in the Nazi crematoria.
After the Holocaust, the world seemed eager to find a more cooperative path. The founding of the United Nations was one expression of that moment. The UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention enshrined a commitment to equality and human rights.
Humankind dared to believe that tribal identities would diminish in importance.
We were wrong. Those like me who grew up in the post-war era never imagined we would again face rising attacks on Jews in my own part of the world – in Europe.
Anti-Semitism is alive and kicking. Irrationality and intolerance are back.
But we still see Holocaust denial, despite the facts. There is also a new trend of Holocaust revisionism, with the rewriting of history and even the honouring of disgraced officials from those days.
Hate speech and anti-Semitic imagery are proliferating across the Internet and social media.
Violent extremist groups use anti-Semitic appeals to rouse their forces and recruit new followers.
All this is in complete contrast to tolerance, the primacy of reason and universal values.
Moreover, as the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Lord Jonathan Sacks, said last year, “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews”.
Today, we see anti-Semitism, along with racism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of intolerance, triggered by populism. I am extremely concerned at the discrimination faced by minorities, refugees and migrants across the world.
I find the stereotyping of Muslims deeply troubling. A “new normal” of public discourse is taking hold, in which prejudice is given a free pass and the door is opened to even more extreme hatred.
Steps from this chamber, you will find a powerful exhibition on Nazi propaganda. It is called “State of deception” and is the product of our fruitful partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
As this exhibition details, propaganda helped erode the bonds of humanity. The word “Jewish” was used constantly in association with society’s ills. Hardship and instability created fertile ground for scapegoating. It is true that many citizens disapproved of discrimination. But a majority accepted such sentiments, even if only passively. Ultimately, indifference prevailed, dehumanization took hold, and the descent into barbarity was quick.
These are lessons for our time, too.
We need to be vigilant. We need to invest in education and youth. We need to strengthen social cohesion so that people feel that diversity is a plus, not a threat.
The United Nations itself must do more to strengthen its human rights machinery, and to push for justice for the perpetrators of grave crimes.
Our “Together” campaign is focusing on countries hosting refugees and migrants. Our Holocaust Outreach Programme is active on all continents.
The Holocaust also saw great acts of heroism, from ordinary people who protected others to diplomats who, at grave risk to themselves, defied the Nazis to enable thousands of people to escape certain death. Some of these are well known – Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg and Japan’s Chiune Sugihara. Some are less so — Iran’s Abdol Hossein Sardari and, I am proud to say, Portugal’s Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes.
Today, we can be inspired by many cooperative efforts to bring diverse groups together. We need to deepen this solidarity.
After the horrors of the 20th century, there should be no room for intolerance in the 21st.
I guarantee you that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will be in the frontline of the battle against anti-Semitism and all other forms of hatred.
That is the best way to build a future of dignity and equality for all – and the best way to honour the victims of the Holocaust we will never allow to be forgotten.
Thank you very much.

Fatah slams UN SG for saying there's a link between Jews and Jerusalem: 'This is an assault on Palestinians' rights in the city.'

Then again, it seems fitting they would remind us all about their constant attempts to erase our history on this day.
In the meantime, it was nice to see the new UN Secretary-General contradicting the recent UNSC resolution 2334, which, among other things, determines that the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem is ‘occupied territory’.
3) Bill Gates vs. the Robots

Sure, they’ll kill jobs. Like Microsoft Excel, they’ll also create new ones.

Ludd was the 18th-century folk hero of anti-industrialists. As the possibly apocryphal story goes, in the 1770s he busted up a few stocking frames—knitting machines used to make socks and other clothing—to protest the labor-saving devices. Taking up his cause a few decades later, a band of self-described “Luddites” rebelled by smashing some of the machines that powered the Industrial Revolution.
Apparently this is the sort of behavior that would make Mr. Gates proud. Last month in an interview with the website Quartz, the Microsoft founder and richest man alive said it would be OK to tax job-killing robots. If a $50,000 worker was replaced by a robot, the government would lose income-tax revenue. Therefore, Mr. Gates suggested, the feds can make up their loss with “some type of robot tax.”

This is the dumbest idea since Messrs. Smoot and Hawley rampaged through the U.S. Capitol in 1930. It’s a shame, especially since Bill Gates is one of my heroes.
When I started working on Wall Street, I was taken into rooms with giant sheets of paper spread across huge tables. People milled about armed with rulers, pencils and X-Acto Knives, creating financial models and earnings estimates.
Spreadsheets, get it? This all disappeared quickly when VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3 and eventually Microsoft Excel automated the calculations. Some fine motor-skill workers and maybe a few math majors lost jobs, but hundreds of thousands more were hired to model the world. Should we have taxed software because it killed jobs? Put levies on spell checkers because copy editors are out of work?
Mr. Gates killed as many jobs as anyone: secretaries, typesetters, tax accountants—the list doesn’t end. It’s almost indiscriminate destruction. But he’s my hero because he made the world productive, rolling over mundane and often grueling jobs with automation. The American Dream is not sorting airline tickets, setting type or counting $20 bills. Better jobs emerged.
Mr. Gates may be worth $86 billion—who’s counting?—but the rest of the world made multiples of his fortune using his tools. Society as a whole is better off. In August 1981, when Microsoft’s operating system first began to ship, U.S. employment stood at 91 million jobs. The economy has since added 53 million jobs, outpacing the rate of population growth.
Even better, the Third World is rising out of poverty because of improved logistics from personal computers and servers. This has dramatically lowered the cost of basic food, energy and health care. None of this happens without productive tools—doing more with less.
What’s most disturbing is that the Luddites never totally went away. How many times have we been subject to proposals that would tax progress? ObamaCare’s regulations froze the medical industry. Its 2.3% medical-device tax was even worse, discouraging investment in one of the few innovative health-care sectors. Mileage standards on automobiles were a waste of resources contributing to the moronic Detroit bailout in 2009. Even a carbon tax is Ludd-like, raising the cost of energy to slow its consumption.
There is a murmuring movement out of Europe known as “degrowth.” If this sounds to you like a cabal of cave dwellers, you’re not that far off. Degrowth Week in Budapest last summer featured enchanting sessions like this one: “Popular competence building against the Technocracy.” Channeling Ludd, industrial insurgents and sustainability samurais want to keep things the way they are, like the eco-protesters at Standing Rock. The site is clear about the movement’s unproductive goals: Consume less and share more.
OK, but do you want to give up Google Maps, Snapchat and future innovations? Pry them out of my cold dead thumbs. Surely Mr. Gates knows that his charitable foundation’s efforts to eradicate malaria and other diseases require a lot of productive capital and hard work. I can’t picture him clamoring to tax robots that lower the cost of malaria drugs or mosquito nets. That kind of tax would kill off the next wave of disease-killing productivity.
I don’t think Mr. Gates wants to be the poster boy for the degrowth movement. He knows how hard progress is. After PCs, Microsoft missed the start of every subsequent technology trend: browsers, video streaming, search, smartphones and cloud computing. Today the company is playing catchup with neural computing, which drives image recognition and other robotic cognitive skills. This type of innovation, even if it destroys jobs near-term, needs to be nurtured and encouraged. Burden progress with taxes, and degrowth is what you’ll get.
Mr. Kessler, a former hedge-fund manager, is the author of “Eat People” (Portfolio, 2011).

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