Beyond the Cusp

July 25, 2014

Israel Hated Similar Reasons as is the United States

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One of the mantras heard in the condemnation of Israel in the current struggle to end the rocket bombardment and destroy the infiltration tunnel networks of the Hamas terrorist forces is that while there are hundreds of casualties being suffered within Gaza there are relatively little damage and a near unbelievable lack of noticeable casualties amongst the Israeli populations and cities. This lack of such disaster spread throughout Israel is due to two basic facts, first, the Hamas rockets are unguided and inaccurate with the majority landing in open areas thus doing little other than difficult to measure psychological damage simply from the repeated sirens and the having to hurriedly head for shelters and spend anxious minutes or longer in tense anxiety and second, the next to impossible success of the Iron Dome interceptor batteries which have downed approaching perfect interception percentage which has spared Israel the damage and casualties which previously would reached frightful levels. Take away either of these two factors and Israel would be showing similar levels of damage and significantly higher casualties than are being witnessed in Gaza despite the facts that Hamas places their civilians in the path of dangers and risks their lives in order to attempt to prevent attacks on something they value more than their people’s lives, their rockets to launch in the hope of murdering as many Israelis as possible while Israel invests whatever is necessary to prevent any harm from coming to her civilians. For those hanging on every new broadcast hoping for news of a highly successful attack which brings devastation to those Israelis, it will only take one failure of the Iron Dome batteries which are tasked with protecting Tel Aviv for your dreams to be unfortunately realized. In central Tel Aviv are tall office buildings with ten having forty or more floors and one that clears fifty which could be struck by a Hamas rocket and some of their largest are capable of doing sufficient damage to collapse one such skyscraper making such a strike the worst terrorist strike in Israeli history with a potential of thousands of murdered Israelis as a result of that one rocket which might get through. Those who hold the disparate death tolls and damages as their reason for despising Israel and throwing their sympathies to Hamas in empathy for their greater losses are damning Israel because of her success at protecting her population.

If instead of measuring by damage taken one were to measure the presumed disparity by number of explosive bombs and warheads launched or dropped and number of attempted ground mission and took the period of time leading up to the Israeli ground assault beginning you might be surprised. This comparison does not include the over a thousand rockets launched by Hamas into Israel before Israel launched her first bombing mission and only those rockets and attempted infiltrations by Hamas measured against the number of Israeli bombs and commando raids. The explosive comparison had slightly over a thousand-five-hundred Hamas rockets while the Israelis retaliated with slightly over two-thousand bombs with Hamas having attempted around a half-dozen infiltrations against a single naval commando mission by Israel. When one looks at the attacks and attempts to impart damage, destruction and casualties on the other side the conflict between Israel and Hamas becomes far more even contest with the measurable difference being in the preparation and success in defending and protecting ones people from those attacks.

This holding Israel at fault because of her being the stronger and more technologically advanced also ignores one of the most vital and important facts, Israel did not initiate this war and Israel removed every last Israeli and removed every IDF troop and base from all of Gaza in August of 2005. When people point to the blockade it needs to be pointed out that when Israel removed their presence they tuned the greenhouses and working businesses worth millions of dollars behind for the Gazans to utilize giving them functioning and profitable operations and did not impose any blockade on Gaza until after Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody and violent coup defeating the forces of the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas. As long as the Palestinian Authority was governing Gaza the Israelis felt little need to clamp strict control over the ports in Gaza but this sense of security dissipated when Hamas which is sworn to the destruction of Israel and the eradication of Jews worldwide stipulated in the clearest possible language in the Hamas Charter and is a unifying theme taught in their schools and portrayed throughout their media.

Anybody who has attended one of the liberal arts colleges or universities and received lectures from professors holding the typical anti-capitalist and anti-American views such as often lectured by such as Noam Chomsky you would be familiar with their anti-American programs. They claim that American culture is polluting the world and tainting the natural culture and altering societies claiming that this societal culture creep that is Americanizing many of the cultures in the third world presumably destroying these primitive cultures which they claim are superior to the crass American culture as the more primitive cultures presumably live in harmony with nature. They also claim that the United States is the worst polluter of nature in the world, something far from borne out by actual unmassaged statistics. Was the United States a large pollution engine a number of decades ago? Yes, though not necessarily the worst. The truth is that since the 1970s the United States has been the only nation that has actually met and surpassed the stringent requirements set by the Kyoto Protocols despite the fact that the United States never signed on to these standards. Another canard is that the United States economic wealth has stolen from the less developed world their share of wealth because since the available wealth is presumably constant, their claim, not mine, then by obvious measurement, by the United States having so much wealth they have to have made it unfairly by robbing the poorer nations. What they are intentionally suppressing is that wealth is not a constant and the United States historically has been the greatest creator of wealth.

What, you need some proof that wealth is constantly being created? To use the most obvious proof that wealth grows over time and directly proportionally to technological advancement one need look no further than ancient human history, real ancient human history. Original ancient man, as in Homo erectus, our ancient ancestors hunted with spears and possibly bow and arrows and the keeper of the fire would be put to death if he permitted the fire to be extinguished and was responsible for transporting the embers to spark the fire when the tribe migrated. We could now trend the advances and thus creations of wealth through the ages with the Greeks and Romans who used plumbing, aqueducts and relatively complex weaponry compared to spears but quite primitive and useless against modern weaponry. Then we see what we have today with buildings covering large swaths of Europe and the United States, automobiles and other items which not long ago were considered luxuries or were not yet invented. All of these are indication of increased available wealth and by claiming that American culture and production methods are ruinous to less advanced nations is actually a form of elitism which is using false arguments to keep the third world less advanced and inferior to the technologically modern world by claiming that their lack of modernity is a state of existence that needs to be preserved. Where this is actually more destructive ecologically can also be described by researching the production of a simple product which has been in existence for numerous centuries, the production of charcoal. Modern charcoal is produced using electrical heating elements with the wood chips placed in a chamber which is filled with CO2 which minimizes escaping pollution while the tried and true old school method is to make large piles of wood chips and allow them to smolder such that the ones buried in the center are oxygen starved and are made into charcoal but produce heavy amounts of smoke and if a large area is used to mass produce charcoal with numerous large mounds smoldering away the area can become absolutely toxic. Which way would any intelligent ecological activist desire to have people worldwide produce charcoal, with modern equipment or the good old fashioned way which is still used in much of today’s world? Criticizing the United States for having a worldwide cultural influence and a greater proportion of the world’s per capita wealth is a form of primitivism and a rejection of advanced technology. This is found in a number of other elitist fads such as rejection of most technological advancements in agricultural preferring “natural” products. The same crippling anti-success jealousy which has infected much of social academia is behind much of the anti-Americanism as it is also behind much of the anti-Israel hatreds. This is most evident in the condemnation of Israel for protecting her people while sympathizing with Hamas because they appear disadvantaged by the resulting casualty numbers and destruction of infrastructure despite the actual number and size of explosives launched by each side being relatively equal, and actually favoring Hamas if one includes the three week buildup of rockets fired into Israel before the initial Israeli response to those attacks. But it is so much more noble to favor the underdog and it gives one a sense of superiority but cannot be assumed to grant them any moral advantage, that takes a more reasoned, systematic and unemotional examination of facts and actual numbers and not kneejerk emotional spontaneous reactions.

Beyond the Cusp

March 22, 2014

Can We Trust the Government Alphabet Agencies?

It seems every other week we read of yet another breach in security or illegal program spying on individuals, companies, foreign leaders of both friendly and not so friendly nations, and even agencies monitoring other agencies or even Congress. Then there have been the reports of the Administration using the IRS, OSHA, EPA and NSA among other agencies to spy on, impede operations of, obstruct functions in, intervene in daily operations or investigate personnel, personal, intimate and other sensitive information on organizations, businesses and people who they suspected might oppose or otherwise threaten the aims and objectives of their programs or even interfere with campaigning and electioneering that might oppose the President. The breadth, width and depth of these invasive policies have definitively proven that even if you have done nothing wrong or illegal you still might have much to fear and worry about from a government which appears to stop at nothing to compromise personal privacy of those they suspect of any opposition or even simply disagreeing with policies and intended programs. This past week we learned that the NSA not only has the capability to monitor and record every phone call and electronic communication of an entire nation and store the information for review for as long as a full month. Of course this revelation refused to identify the nation the Administration has chosen for such special consideration and inspection though I have a pretty good idea which nation has such a level of interest for such a deep and total level of spying and penetration into even the daily lives of every citizen and it is not the Russians, Chinese or any of the other nations which many American citizens would consider to be adversaries.

 

One of the most threatening and freedom chilling revelations was the level of inspection and extraneous required paperwork, reports, queries and intensive inspection that were utilized by the Administration through challenging the tax status or approval to applications for tax exempt status of agencies, organizations and other political entities which the administration had singled out as possibly having intentions to work against the reelection of President Obama. When it became obvious that many of the particular groups had identifying information or names containing phrases which included Tea Party, Constitution, Freedom, Conservative, Liberty and other identifiers the Administration suspected would indicate largely conservative, libertarian and constitutionalist groups which they considered to be political adversaries. There have been claims by some conservative and Republican sources claiming that these attacks were largely responsible for the apparent disappearance in the last election of Tea Party groups and have even blamed these reputedly illegal actions for Mitt Romney’s loss in the Presidential election. Of course whether those claims are truly valid is something we can argue forever as nobody will ever be able to prove anything one way or the other. The one thing I hope we could all agree on is such abuse of powers and using the brute force of the government for politicized gains is something that must not be condoned no matter who is committing such actions. What makes these accusations even more frightening is that apparently fellow citizens who work presumably for the public good performed these actions without objection or complaint. But then again, the Administration under President Obama has prosecuted both a higher percentage and larger number of whistle-blowers than any previous Presidential Administration in American history. They have also garnered one of the top spots for resistance and outright refusal to release information when responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In many ways President Obama has operated in one of the most secretive and least transparent Administration ever while also having unheard of levels of malfeasance by government agencies and the worst records on protection and respect of privacy rights of individuals.

 

If none of the above worries you, then perhaps a few other bits of information might place things in a different light. The United States government is working in conjunction with a number of internet companies, technology companies, university researchers and the military on artificial intelligence research with an emphasis on algorithms and programs which can be used to predict both general behavior of the society and to find ways of predicting individual behavior through methods of simple observational data which can be gleamed using current surveillance and other related information. Another threat comes thanks to the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which will place all of people’s medical records and information in the hands of the most invasive department who already hold massive amounts of your personal financial information, as the IRS will now be tasked to handle your taxes and healthcare. Add to this the NSA and their abilities to record and analyze amounts of electronic data virtually beyond imagination and their working often at the behest of the FBI or the CIA through requests handled by Homeland Security Agency and couple these abilities and place them in the hands of an oppressive government and you are looking at the worst case combination of the most terrible predictions from the heart of political science fiction such as Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984, and throw in the idea of Carousel from Logan’s Run as the end treatment resulting from the use by Obamacare of a plan named the “complete lives system” for the allocation of very scarce resources, such as kidneys, vaccines, dialysis machines, intensive care beds, and others, as proposed and written by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, health adviser to President Barack Obama. The future which is approaching faster than many of us can realize will either be a place of unbelievable progress and freedom or the most oppressive government which is intrusive to the point where personal liberties and freedoms will be but a fleeting memory and we will fear even exhibiting the slightest unaccepted action and our every emotional reaction will be picked up and recorded for analysis by biometric surveillance possibly provoking government interventions for the slightest hints of thought crimes.

 

Where I have enormous hopes for the future, I also temper that with a healthy level of suspicion and respect for the potentials for misuse of coming technologies. When I worked as a production repair and test technician as well as an R&D technician with the engineers of a company which manufactured leading edge EEG and computer automated seizure detection systems using mathematical algorithms to detect and aid in diagnosing patients and which were used for sleep studies and treating and analyzing epilepsy and other disorders of the brain, I got a glimpse into how much we were able to determine about medical conditions and other systems simply through mathematical analysis of medical data. This was close to thirty years ago and the company had units which not only recorded up to sixty four channels of EEG but also did seizure detection and analysis in real time even with processors as slow and primitive as were available back them. I also had the pleasure and honor of working with the most intelligent person I have ever had the privilege to know, a gentleman who designed circuits and had an understanding of electronics as well as higher math that was astonishing. I was honored when he chose for me to work on any project and realized the full potential of monitoring and predictive analysis which was available at that time and cannot even begin to imagine where those areas of science, medicine and electronic monitoring have progressed to and attained. That is part of why I have a deep respect for the potentials for government to use technology in intrusive and subversive ways which can be turned against the people in order to control the population under the guise of working for the betterment of mankind. For one frightening example of such simply do some research and read about the “complete lives system” and take a few deep breaths and try to relax with that knowledge and knowing it is at the heart of the government’s healthcare plans for the United States.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 20, 2012

The Real Presidential Choice Facing the United States

The loud, cacophonous, clamoring back and forth has only just begun. The candidates of the two main parties will be speaking in opposing terms battling each other on every possible subject exaggerating even the slightest crevice of a difference until it rivals the Grand Canyon. We can expect full-throttle vindictive salvos to be thrown by the Super-PACs even should either candidate choose to stay positive and avoid personal attacks. This coming election has the potential to be the most contentious in recent history if not in all of history. Putting it in the most basic terms possible, we can safely predict that either side has no plans on taking any prisoners and go straight for the jugular of the opponent aiming to render them broken beyond repair if not simply and utterly destroyed. So, what will be the issues most likely to be the main themes of the election and which one will be the singularly most vital question voters will need to address.

The most obvious issues according to the press coverage they are receiving are jobs, taxes, unemployment, the economy, gas prices, and the disparities concerning Warren Buffet versus his secretary. As important as all of these issues may be, they will very likely prove to be secondary when the judgment of history is written some time much later in the century. The underlying theme between the candidates on each of these contentious issues will be the role of government should play in finding the solution. One side will place great importance on the steps the government must take to assure that the people are given the tools to solve any difficulties they are facing while the other candidate will stress getting government out of the way and allowing people to empower themselves without government meddlesome interference. The two sides will argue on which is more advantageous, making the wealthy pay their “fair share” in taxation such that the government will have sufficient funds in order to address and solve the problems the people are facing while on the other hand the argument made claims that allowing the wealthy and everybody else to keep more of their wealth by lowering tax rates so those who are the engines that generate the jobs, such as small businesses, have the additional funds to enable them to invest and employ more people. These themes will be the foundation beneath the discussion on other subjects as well.

Take health-care and health insurance, both of which promise to be a hot potato for both candidates, and again the discourse will revolve around how much responsibility should be granted to the government and how much should remain with the individual. How this particular debate plays out will be of great interest as President Obama can reasonably claim that he molded Obama-care using Romney-care as the prototypical guide. Romney will stress that at least Romney-care was Constitutional as it was a state program while Obama-care is not Constitutional being a Federal program and thus against the limitations placed on the Federal Government by the Constitution. For many in the electorate it will be required of Romney that he convinces them he had a turning point on the idea of government getting so fully involved with health-care thus placing distance between his current position and the position allowing him to sign the Massachusetts Health-Care Insurance Reform Law.

Another subject will be the balance between oil, coal, nuclear, natural gas and green energies which will ensure a sufficient supply for the future while also improving the environment. This will also revolve around the role of government regulations, licensing, involvement and promotion in each of these forms of energy generation. What will be of particular interest on this subject is whether either candidate will have a singular position and remains consistent on their message when talking to the different audiences. Will their position ring with the same message when they are speaking in Texas as when they are talking energy in San Francisco. This is something that both extremes on this issue from the coal and oil workers and the strident environmentalists should be interested and both candidates should be fully vetted and revealed if their message is overly adjustable and tailored for the separate audiences. Energy policies are often a good indicator with which to test the honor and honesty of candidates as the wide gulch between the two extremes between differing audiences provides temptation for candidates to adjust their rhetoric tailoring the message to fit the audience thus proposing contradictory positions at different times.

But what is the seminal issue of this coming Presidential election? When looking at each issue it becomes obvious that even more than has been the historic norm, the role of government in our lives and in all segments of society are going to be the central theme. We are faced with a significant difference between the two candidates. The choice is whether we desire to restore government to the restraints of a limiting Constitution or if we wish to transform the way we interpret our Constitution towards making government proactive by removing the limitations over the role of the Federal government. Will we choose to restructure the United States by dismissing Constitutional constraints or reestablish a restrictive Constitutionally limited governance United States? This is the choice in the starkest of terms with which to demonstrate our choice when we enter the voting booth this November. Either we retain the guards against unlimited government power or transit to a government that can dictate every item in our lives. We will be choosing whether we place the individual over the government or place the government to be preeminent over the individual. Which one do you trust to make all the choices going forward, each individual person with the rights and responsibilities for their own actions or the bureaucratic governance making the choices taking the responsibility for all consequences and doling out rights as they find necessary. Do we desire the responsibility derived from individual liberty or the comfort of simple compliance derived from communal group-think?

Beyond the Cusp

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