Letters: Creeping Automation, Don’t Forget Same-Sex Couples

March 6, 2020

Creeping Automation
Thank you for Max Samarov’s story showing how big government is overachieving in taking self-control away from ordinary citizens. Right off the bat, he shows how government-sponsored, minimum wage forces businesses to replace human workers with robots. A restaurant I invested in finally was forced to close after years of struggling because of California’s recent minimum wage law — dozens of workers laid off. The retail apocalypse allows the federal government to concentrate the online sales giants they need to shake down for political contributions to only a few.

Indeed, “wealth and power … concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite” is exactly why the governments are not enforcing anti-trust laws. Regarding “government-sponsored job-retraining programs … failing for decades” — what program do they run adequately? It’s no wonder city/state/federal governments are million/billion/trillions of dollars in debt. Plus, they have the added bonus of getting “huge numbers of … workers … [to] remain … relying on government benefits to survive.” What better way to control people’s lives and get them to vote for even more government handouts at taxpayers’ expense? “What kids learn today,” Samarov writes: universal basic income, our education system, homelessness, fear of social, political and economic inequality — all can be traced to laws passed to destroy private institutions (charter schools, banks, mom-and-pop stores, mental health hospitals, the Boy Scouts) so “public” institutions can be used to control people’s lives.
Warren Scheinin, Redondo Beach

Jews and Palestinians
Why should we Jews be sympathetic to the Palestinians?

In his Feb. 28 editorial (“By Dissing AIPAC, Sanders Hurts Palestinians”), David Suissa quotes Sarah Tuttle-Singer, who wrote about speaking at AIPAC, “… [I] talked about how we have to end the Occupation, restore justice to the Land, and how Israelis and Palestinians — Jews and Arabs — must live together in equality, freedom, and security.” This, a common theme in these pages, is what Israel has been attempting at least since the ’67 War.

Ever since the United Nations partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state, the Jews have proposed countless offers of peace and concessions. The Palestinians responded in the infamous Khartoum resolution of Sept. 1, 1967, with “the Three No’s: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negations with it.”

They have adhered to this policy ever since. Their utmost desire is to have “An Arab state from the river [Jordan] to the sea [Mediterranean],” which euphemistically is a call to wipe Israel off the map.

Since the Palestinians have no intention of pursuing peace with Israel, why do we belabor the point?
C.P. Lefkowitz, San Pedro

Objecting to the 1619 Project
Thank you, Gil Troy, for pushing back, against, among other concepts, the “institutionalized victimhood” inherent in such destructive, although well-intentioned, endeavors such as the 1619 Project (“The New York Times Is Reframing Our Past,” Feb. 14). Growing up in a mixed, lower-middle-class neighborhood in 1960s Los Angeles, my neighbors included a black, divorced female dietician, the 12th child of sharecroppers, who was proud that all of her siblings graduated from Tuskegee University, part of the incredible African American college system; Jim Randolph, the director of KGFJ, a black radio station and creator of “This Is Progress,” a radio feature that’s highlighted the achievements of African Americans; and O.C. Smith, a popular singer raised by his single mother. None of them defined themselves by being victims. None of them taught their kids that they were victims and, therefore, couldn’t achieve. Even Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a rabid anti-Semite, preached black responsibility and self-reliance, not victimhood at his Million Man March on Washington, D.C.

The premise inherent in the 1619 Project that slavery defines African

Americans and the American experience
is both racist and destructive because, as a result of its simplistic premise, we all become perpetual victims.
Mina Friedler, Venice

Don’t Forget Same-Sex Couples
As a gay man who reads the Journal regularly, I was disappointed in Tabby Refael’s column (“A Friday Kind of Love,” Feb. 14). I was pleased to see that Refael doesn’t forget about the hardworking men as she includes the phrase “and husbands” when talking about the work of wives, but she fails to recognize same-sex relationships and nontraditional families. Shabbat flowers can uplift the man of the house just as much as they uplift the woman, and not every household has a “woman of the house.”

Using the term eishet chayil excludes those of us who do not have a woman of valor in our household.

Flowers and other messages of recognition should be used to honor everyone, not just women, and Refael could have rephrased the quote from Rabbi Dov Heller to be more inclusive.

Buying flowers is the least a person can do for their partner. No one in any relationship should be taken for granted, and this teaching applies equally to same-sex couples as it does to male-female relationships.
Zvi Zobin, via email

Disappointed by ‘Hunters’
In Ariel Sobel’s recent story “ ‘Hunters’ Grindhouse Experience Turns L.A. Into 1970s NYC” (Feb. 28), she writes about an experience focused on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and tangentially mentions the new Amazon Prime show “Hunters.” Sobel makes the Grindhouse Experience seem like what I had hoped “Hunters” would be.

Sobel’s story makes me wish I could have gone to Grindhouse, because the TV series created by David Weil delivers big promises with pedestrian results. Al Pacino’s German accent slips in and out, anachronisms abound, and the Torah and Talmud are both dreadfully misquoted. Granted, I am only halfway through the series, and I hope that the misunderstanding and false textual expertise is a facade of some kind — some sort of intentional faux-scholarship that makes sense for the character — but so far it is just cringe-worthy.

As a rabbi and a comic book geek, I am regularly distracted by how much the show gets wrong. As the father of children whose grandfather survived the Holocaust, I struggle with the message of “revenge is the best revenge.” As a fan of all things movies and TV, even the character introductions in the first episode dreadfully overpromised. Lonny Flash (played by Josh Radnor) was promised as a chameleon, an actor who could blend in seamlessly anywhere. But he only ever appears as whiny, out-of-work, over-confident Lonny Flash, who nobody seems to know. (Maybe that’s why he blends in, because Radnor performs as a character I just can’t care about.)

Carol Kane, Saul Rubinek, Lena Olin and Pacino all disappoint with their performances, and I was so excited to see such a wonderful ensemble cast working together.

These four normally talented performers seem to spend so much time focusing on mediocre accents that they forget to act. I have fallen asleep to this show twice in five episodes, and I am trying very hard to choke it down like my children do with the broccoli I make them eat.

I will finish the season, and I hope it produces some sort of surprise at the end, but in the meantime, I pray that if it gets renewed, they seek some script advice from a rabbi. Mr. Weil, I’m in Fountain Valley if you need me.
Rabbi David N. Young, Congregation B’nai Tzedek, Fountain Valley

Sanders, Jews and All Voters
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders “fails to condemn Hamas and collaborates with open anti-Semites like [Reps.] Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar …” (“Sanders Abandoning Israel,” Letters to the Editor, Feb. 28).

That, and his frequent statements that seek to denigrate the State of Israel and demanding concessions from it while asking little of the Palestinians, should be of concern to all voters.

Despite Sanders’ ideas regarding matters not related to Israel that many of us favor, his failure to condemn terrorists, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and the like, overwhelm the positives.
George Epstein, Los Angeles

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