Beyond the Cusp

February 13, 2014

Poverty in the First World Virtually Nonexistent

With President Obama and his new emphasis on income inequality and supposed poverty in the United States, one could not be blamed for believing that poverty is a huge problem in the United States. With the comparisons made to the European nations as examples which should be emulated by the United States in order to reduce, if not eliminate, poverty one might be led to believe there is even less poverty in European nations. The actual truth is there is virtually no poverty throughout the first world, the industrialized and modern nations which includes almost every European nation, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and all of the rest of the of the G-20 nations. That is not to claim that there is nobody living in these nations who may be going hungry as there very likely are some among the homeless who could be found to suffer from severe lack of nutrition and other health problems. What this does claim is that they make up an almost negligible sector in the population and in many cases these people deserve to be institutionalized and many would have been cared for as such before the great new experiment proposed and shoved through legislatures from the Federal Government down to the most local governances by progressives in the mental health care systems in the 1950s and 1960s where it was claimed that the mentally infirm would be better served placed in conditions where they were forced into the mainstream public arena where they would interact with normal adjusted population giving them an impetus and serving as an example for these distressed people. This led to the closing of a majority of the mental health asylums placing their former inmates in halfway houses from which they mostly walked out and never returned as without the guidance and constant observation they simply walked off and the result was their living on the streets without receiving their medications or any counselling. This has led to some who are the most in need of assistance and supervised living not being treated making up a fair number of those classified as homeless, a number which grew significantly as the mental health facilities were closed and transformed into out-patient care facilities. Beyond this sector of society, there is little if any real poverty in the industrialized world when compared to the rest of the nations of the world.

 

In the industrialized nations starvation is not a widespread problem while in many areas in the world where civil strife or outright war zones exist there are numerous, often a majority, of those who are truly starving to death, homeless, without any medical healthcare and completely destitute. There have been reports of widespread starvation with people eating grasses, leaves, tree bark and anything they can scrounge in North Korea and more recently in two of the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria who have been denied receipt of any aid including food by both the Syrian Army and their allies and the rebel forces. There has been widespread starvation due to drought in much of central Africa, a situation which has been further exaggerated by internecine warfare often between warlords or religious extremists. These are areas where there exists true and absolute poverty, not relative lack of wealth. These are people who are truly suffering and face death by violence, starvation, disease or any number of causes which are virtually unheard of in the First World. Of course to report that there is no true and life-threatening poverty throughout the First World is something that the politicians are loathe to admit as doing so would remove from the discussion a cause on which they can grandstand and steamroll over any objections because they are assisting the unfortunate and wretched victims of poverty in the society. The so-called poverty in the First World has actually become big business and those who are the ruling princes will not allow anybody to harm their cash cow.

 

The main mantra that those who utilize rumored rampant poverty within the most advanced and wealthy societies is that there must be income equality and systems put in place that redistribute wealth in order to care for those who are less fortunate and in poverty. Their claim will be that those who have succeeded the most owe those who have less to share in their good fortune. They desire penalizing the top ten percent to distribute among those who make up the bottom twenty percent. The problem comes if one were to take this concept and generally apply it to the entirety of the population of planet Earth. If the wealth of the top ten percent of the world were taken through a high rate of tax or other penalty and redistributed to those in the bottom twenty percent then none of the redistributed wealth would be received by anybody in the First World. The distribution could be spread amongst the bottom fifty percent, that’s right, the bottom half, then there might be the smallest of chance that some of the redistributed wealth would reach the less wealthy, it would be wrong to call them truly desperately poor, of the First World. Where it is folly to pretend that this situation will change during our lifetimes, but wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to hear one of the poverty pimps to come out and tell the truth and claim to have reached an epiphany and begin to place their efforts to assist those who would be thankful if given one solid meal a day for them and their children. Even better, help them to farm and encourage education and starting small businesses within their nations. Of course, in many situations it would be necessary to end conflicts which have raged for years upon years. These are intractable problems which have plagued mankind since the first clan grabbed some heavy branches and rocks and attacked some other family in order to plant their control over additional land and expand their power and influence and guarantee their future existence of their family. Now the wars are larger but they are still predicated on guaranteeing your way of life becomes preeminent. Have we really advanced at all since that first battle or have we simply invented more complicated reasons behind which we hide our most base instincts which still rule our societies with just a somewhat more complex web of rules, laws, excuses and ways we can gain power over the next group, the other, all those others. We simply have more efficient rocks to throw at each other and the same basic reasons for throwing them and until we grow and overcome our most basic instincts we will remain with a world with many barely able to survive from one day to the next because of inhuman situations caused by inhuman humans, how’s that for an seeming impossibility?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 4, 2012

Mahmoud Abbas and the Great Lies Told

Starting yesterday meetings sponsored by King Hussein of Jordan in Amman were to be held for a couple days between Israeli and Palestinian representatives in an effort to restart negotiations, preferably official direct negotiations, between the Israelis and the Palestinian authority in time to meet the January 26 deadline for meeting the Quartet’s schedule for initial filings of proposals. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had quite a bit to say about his expectations and hopes for both the meetings and the potential negotiations. We will first quote his words and then try to discern exactly what they both meant and implied.

Abbas told reporters, “Allah willing, results of this meeting will be revealed in the coming two days, and based on that we will set the suitable grounds for resuming negotiations. This would be positive, and we hope Jordan will succeed. The Palestinian demand is well-known, which is for the Israelis to accept the identified references for the peace process, and to stop settlement expansion. If that happens, we will be ready to resume negotiations.”

Where Mahmoud Abbas has made a statement that on the surface sounds extremely hopeful and straightforward, there is a large elephant of a problem hidden within the innocent reference of, “The Palestinian demand is well-known, which is for the Israelis to accept the identified references for the peace process,…” This little aside hidden just past halfway through Mahmoud Abbas’s statement could pass by most readings without gaining much attention, especially in how he follows it up with a misleading reference as if it is the only demand he has made of Israel when he added, “…and to stop settlement expansion.” As is often the case, the Devil is in the details and, as usual, it is in the unspoken details. So, what exactly is Mahmoud Abbas making reference to when he demands, “…accept the identified references…”

As Mahmoud Abbas further stated, “the identified references” only start with his referred statement, “stop settlement expansion.” There are other unspoken and implied demands which have been mentioned in numerous different combinations and order, always feeling out how far the Palestinian Authority spokespeople can state safely without appearing to have unreasonable demands. Obviously, these demands are far more freely stated when speaking to friendly crowds in Arabic than is ever stated publically in English or Hebrew. For complete lists one often will need to reference those organizations such as MEMRI and PMW which translate much of that spoken, written, and telecast on radio or television in Arabic (or Farsi or other foreign languages) to Arab or Muslim crowds and audiences.

So, what exactly are the real demands that Mahmoud Abbas demands that the Israeli government grant the Palestinians in order for negotiations to begin? There is, of course, the stated demand that all Israeli building in the Settlement areas be suspended completely until a resolution of negotiations no matter how long that takes. Building in Jerusalem and its suburbs are included in the building ban including areas around the Western Wall, the Old City including the Jewish Sector and the rebuilding of any Synagogues which had been destroyed during the Jordanian occupation. Mahmoud Abbas also has stated he intends for the building ban to include all of the suburbs of Jerusalem even if they are parts which even the Palestinians have previously agreed were going to remain as a part of Israel. There is a demand for the release of every Palestinian prisoner held in Israeli custody. Another demand has been the complete removal of all IDF, Police, Border Guards and other enforcement personnel from all of the “occupied” (contested) lands. Israel will be required to accept the “1967 borders” (1949 temporary Armistice Lines which the Arab negotiators insisted were never to be construed as borders in any manner for all time as doing so would be a recognition of Israel) as the initial start for negotiating borders and should the Palestinians refuse to grant any land swaps, these would be the final boundary lines between the Palestinian State and Israel. Adding to this, the Palestinians have already stated they demand they retain all of the Old City of Jerusalem, the entire Temple Mount, the Western Wall and the plaza adjacent to the Western wall where they have plans to build houses and shops. There is also their long running demand that absolutely no Jew will be allowed to reside, work, visit or in any way be allowed upon any piece of sovereign Palestinian Lands. This demand would leave Kever Yosef (Joseph’s Tomb), the Machpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs), Kever Rachel (Rachel’s Tomb), and near countless other Jewish Holy Sites completely outside of the reach of any Jew no matter if they are Israeli or from another country. The Palestinians have already begun to implement their plan to have every Jewish Holy Site be recognized as a Muslim Holy Site through their newly won membership in UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and thereby remove any legitimacy of Jewish requests for access to these sites. There are a number of other demands, some of which have only been mentioned in speeches made during meetings of the Palestinian Parliament or in speeches given to local Arab audiences, some of which can be researched through some of the monitoring organizations such as the two mentioned earlier. Saving the best demand for last, even better than making every Jewish holy site Muslim and denying their Jewish historical evidence, there is the “Right of Return” which is a demand to allow anybody who can trace any ancestry to qualify as a Palestinian as per the rules of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), which is a separate United Nations entity solely for Palestinian refugees and completely separate from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) so as to allow for a completely separate set of rules to be implemented in order to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee situation into a massive and constantly spreading open wound that the Muslim and Arab societies could use to assault Israel and be ready to inundate Israel once the world is convinced to agree that all the UNRWA refugees are to be allowed to return to live inside Israel, even if they had never been in or even seen Israel in their entire life. When taken objectively, the Palestinian demands as preconditions for negotiations is nothing more and nothing less than a complete set of demands that Israel capitulate on every single contention before negotiations begin to resolve these same issues. Should Israel agree to these demands in full which Mahmoud Abbas has referred to consistently for close to ten years now, adding items whenever anybody accidently or intentionally mentions a new demand on Israel such as the building freeze and the acceptance of the 1967 Lines which originated from the President of the United States, Barack Obama, who made these demands of Prime Minister Netanyahu early in President Obama’s first two years in office when he was acting seemingly with the premise that Israeli intransience was responsible for the lack of a Middle East peace, Israel would cease to exist.

The only good that can be taken from the litany of demands from the Palestinians is that no matter how many more items are added, they will not get any more self-destructive for Israel in their considerations of them. The current set would be the death of Israel as a homeland for the Jews. The one thing that is often added by Mahmoud Abbas and his cohorts from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and many others throughout the world, not just the Muslim world but the world, is that even if peace is finally attained, the Palestinians have promised and demanded of themselves that even then they cannot and will not give up on their resistance until they free all of Palestine from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea. With that addendum being attached to any peace treaty, why would anybody ever even consider negotiations, yet the Israelis still hold out hope that there can be negotiations held without preconditions. Abbas has answered them by claiming that he has not made preconditions, these are just small matters required to be met before negotiations can begin without preconditions. Such a deal!

Beyond the Cusp

November 10, 2011

President Obama has a Wiki-leaks Moment

Well, now we have it on the record from comments exchanged between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the United States President Barack Obama while they mistakenly thought they were speaking in private. They had not taken off their lapel microphones used during the G-20 meetings and they also happened to still be activated allowing the entire press corps to hear the entire conversation. The initial conversation began with President Obama reprimanding President Sarkozy for not informing the Obama Administration of their intention to vote in favor of Palestinian membership in UNESCO. Towards the end of the conversation, out came the juicy tidbits which even the most favorable and supportive outlets for the President were unable to ignore, though they have given it a noble effort. The conversation of interest came as the two discussed their feelings for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which went like this, in case you have not heard, President Sarkozy stated, “I cannot stand him. He is a liar.” President Obama, not wishing to be outdone in derogatory rhetoric, added disdainfully, “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”

I wish I could say that I find this disturbing or surprising or even out of character for the President of the United States, but this is unfortunately how contemptibly the Office of the President has been regarded by many of Barack Obama’s dishonorable and shoddy actions. Many of these shortcomings have been most evident in President Obama from his dealings with those who are representatives for many of the longest and most ardent allies of the United States. The list of similar actions by President Obama is fairly extensive which not only includes numerous most of his interactions with representatives from Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular, but go all the way back to President Obama’s first meeting with the British Ambassador when he insisted that he take the bust of Winston Churchill back as President Obama found it distasteful and offensive. Even should President Obama actually have honest and valid problems with the history of the British or with the history of Winston Churchill himself, then you remove the statue and place it in storage, not insult an ally of such longstanding by insisting they take back their gift as you find it offensive. Perhaps simple discretionary and polite actions are too much to expect from this President and my expectations are simply too demanding. Just as with the return of Sir Winston to the British and the previous treatment towards Netanyahu, this is just one more piece of evidence that President Obama and I have diametrically opposite views of who are truly friends of the United States.

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