Too Little About Three Issues

Today I want to make some brief comments about three current events. I’ll explain my actions in the last paragraph.

America, or at least its greater east coast is recovering from a gasoline shortage due to a ransomware attack on the major pipeline in the region. It is reported that the pipeline operators paid a $5 million ransom to criminals operating out of Russia. I want to comment on two aspects.

First, the attack was much worse because of the actions of the American public. Panic buying greatly exacerbated the shortage. Many people actually horded gasoline. The most interesting tidbit I picked up was the panic buying in metro Miami. Metro Miami isn’t even serviced by the pipeline in question. Prudent action to defend your and/or your family’s interests is fine; this went way beyond that. This panic buying only made a bad situation much worse and may well have forced the hand of the pipeline owners.

My second comment on this is that I am against paying ransom to cyber criminals. Paying the ransom only makes the crime economically worth committing thereby encouraging future similar crimes. However, I lack sufficient information to damn the company. Many large companies now insure themselves against cyber-attacks and in some cases the insurance carriers dictate that the ransom be paid because in the immediate it is much cheaper to pay the ransom than to restore records and operations otherwise. (That opens up a lot of questions I won’t explore today.) The other thing I don’t know is if behind the scenes actions have been taken or more likely are in process so that the criminals never enjoy the fruits of their crimes, (i.e. assassination squads).

My bottom line concern is whether America can come together to defeat an enemy like it did in World War II. Will today’s citizenry make the needed sacrifices like the Greatest Generation did?

Are you confused about masks? I am. The seemingly sudden lifting of most – but significantly not all – mask mandates for the fully vaccinated caught me somewhat by surprise. I felt that it was premature and had too many holes in it. The largest one by far is that much of it is predicated on people’s honesty as to their vaccination status.

As my regular readers know I follow the 14 day rolling average of new infections daily. It is dropping significantly which I have to attribute mainly to the sizable portion of the population that has been vaccinated and therefore is close to immune to COVID-19. Available data indicates that not only are the fully vaccinated basically immune but there is almost no chance of them being carriers.

Liberal that I am politically I’m going to practice and preach conservative action on the COVID front. For the time being I intend to wear my mask in public, limit my social interaction unless I know and trust that the others are also fully vaccinated, publically dine outdoors only and simply error on the side of caution. We are winning this game; don’t blow the lead in the late innings!

There are many experts on the Middle East; I am not one of them. For all of my life Americans as a whole tended to be pro-Israel. That may not be changing completely but it certainly is to a degree, has for a few years now and the rate of objectivity is accelerated in recent days. I’ll condemn actions on both sides but the Palestinians have made their case and much of the world is listening including Americans.

When you have a conflict that has been going on for decades it is difficult to isolate any time period. That said the current engagements seem to have begun when Israeli forces raided one of the holiest Mosques during high holiday services. This may be an understatement but that seems like an overstep to me and I’m certain many share my opinion. Saturday it was reported that Israel bombed a building that contained press offices. Again, I don’t know all the particulars (and probably never will) but that doesn’t look good to say the least.

While the Trump administration destroyed America’s credibility as an honest broker in the region and the Biden administration has yet to restore it the American people are more open minded about the region than ever in my lifetime. Whether that will affect the outcome of the conflict or future of the region I don’t know but I know the American people are considering the Palestinians’ positions much more seriously than ever before. Israel has a right to exist but not at the total expense of the Palestinians.

All three are complex issues about which I have definite opinions but lack the knowledge and/or information necessary to formulate comprehensive answers; hence the relatively short comments.

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