Beyond the Cusp

September 24, 2014

Why Religion Has Started to Die in Society

Almost three-fourths of those Americans polled by Pew Research agreed that religion is losing influence in American life. This is reported to be the highest this subject has ever reached and thus begs a number of questions. The most evident question is what have these nearly three out of four Americans done to bring religion back into their lives and the lives of those around them. Religion cannot retreat from its place in society all by itself; it has to have accomplices who no longer incorporate religion into their daily lives. It is probably a fair statement to say that if only half of those who polled lamenting the loss of religion in the public square would make a personal effort to bring religion into the square that this would be sufficient to bring about the start of reversing that trend. The other truth is that there has been a concerted effort by a small but vocal and bothersome minority which have aided the retreat of religion from the realm of the American society, and they will need to be fought tooth and nail if their nefarious deeds are to be slowed and eventually thwarted and reversed, but it will take most of that almost three quarters of America. If in the words “Under G0d” could be added to the Pledge of Allegiance by President Eisenhower on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress, then religion can be restored to its rightful place in our society if the majority of Americans wish and act in a manner that assists rather than neglects the place of religion in their daily lives.

Of course there have been other forces at work beyond the control of the average person as an individual. These are mostly societal pressures which often react to the concerted pressures made by smaller groups which are better organized and financed thus giving their views weight beyond that of any number of individual citizen even should they be part of the majority, even should that be a vast majority as long as that majority has not mobilized uniting together and financing concerted efforts to push their views before those who control the establishment of laws or their enforcement. One can place blame on those in high office who permit or even encourage such regulations and laws which work against religion but before doing so there are a few items within their own lives which they would be better served by addressing them if their efforts should prove less than helpful. Before claiming that the powers that be have acted irresponsibly they need to review whether their own actions have properly portrayed through their lives the importance of religion. The most important single item one can do to show their support for religion and their desire to have it reflected through the society in which they live would be to regularly attend weekly services and being active in the organized religious activities related to their particular religious beliefs. Nothing sends the message to those in high office that religion no longer matters to the citizenry louder than empty pews in the nation’s churches, synagogues, temples and other religious services. Holders of political office are not so well tuned and sensitive that they can divine the thoughts of the people by some extrasensory means allowing them to form opinions and impressions of the people’s beliefs in some way other than drawing conclusions from the activities of the people. Short of making decisions formed by the actions of the people they can only respond to what it appears that the people are demanding of them and that is where a small minority can sway these lawmakers simply by inundating them with calls, e-mails, letter and other forms of lobbying. The regular citizen rarely writes their representative and believes that simply by voting for a person to represent them is sufficient to have that representative actually represent them without any efforts on their behalf. So, if one’s actions such as attending regular religious services or writing and calling their representative’s offices, both in the capital and locally, then they are simply relying on exactly what to assure their representatives understand the importance of religion is in their lives and how important it is for religion to be permitted in the public square. But what are some of the other forces pressing religion into retreat from its former place of prominence in American society.

As already mentioned, there are forces at work here which have as their sole intent to beat religion out of the lives and society no matter what the cost or dangers. One such group is the Freedom From Religion Foundation. This and other related anti-religion and anti-faith based organizations spend millions and concerted efforts to chase religion from the public square by any and all means necessary. Such groups have lobbyists who press their influence personally making themselves friendly and close to your representative, make letter writing campaigns whenever legislation they support or wish to defeat inundating your representatives offices both in the capital and locally even going so far as to assure that these letters no matter where they originate are postmarked within your representative’s district for maximum influence, organize phone campaigns calling your representatives offices not only in the capital but in every community within his district, and know all the other ins and outs of pressing your ideas and opinions maximizing their influence, which is all part of the political game. The problem is that they also are minimizing your ability to influence your representatives and often doing so using people largely who do not reside anywhere near you and share none of your convictions, but they have the clout to silence your desires and press their desires squelching all others. This is the most serious problem with representative governance no matter its form, the ability of a small minority to use potentially nefarious methods and silencing a potentially vast majority in the halls of power. There is an easy and available means by which such groups can be vanquished and silenced their influence without doing anything immoral or underhanded, but it does require good people to take actions and do so under the auspices of a joint effort through an organization to which they all belong and are active in, their religious institutions where they gather and worship together. Unfortunately, the empty pews are evidence to the reason such efforts are so easily ignored; they have few who can be motivated to make the voice of the majority heard.

There is yet another problem which may be another facet of the lack of people attending services regularly, or even at all even on the most major of religious days. This next reason, next excuse, may also be a result of lack of regular attendance as by feeling that these leaders stand alone makes them more vulnerable to the malevolent forces. These leaders of our neighborhoods, or at least in better times they were our true leaders, the pastors, priests, rabbis and other clergy, other men of the cloth who have come under attack by forces within our societies. Some of these forces are the same as the ones garnering undue influence over our political representatives and others are the arms of our governance which are simply responding to what they perceive as the will of the society as well as to the dictates of the courts which are influenced by the cases brought before them. When courts see that across the lands there are cases brought demanding the ban of all religious symbols from the public square and the only protesters with numbers are supporting these legal maneuvers, they can only act to support what they perceive is the law as they witness the people interpret the law. The clergy would have a greater standing and voice if their houses of worship were filled weekly by people enthusiastic in celebrating their faith. But when they preach to a small few each week then their strength and power is reduced to a level equal to the numbers in regular attendance.

The United States is approaching the place where Europe has already reached where the clergy fear to speak out against injustices or to oppose those in the government allowing government to stifle and mute their voices. They have fallen in influence so far that they now speak for almost nobody and are thus easily pressed into a corner where they speak solely of those things which are supported by those who appear to have the hearts and souls of the majority of the people. A society is molded and formed by those who have the support and power granted by the ones willing to force their opinions onto the seats of power. That seat of power potentially is the secular governance or it can be the pulpits of the houses of worship, that choice lies with the people. Attend the houses of worship in numbers and the government will notice and adjust to that influence. This has been proven in Europe where the Mosques are vibrant and well attended while the churches in the home of modern Christianity sit empty echoing the silence, providing they have not been sold and converted to Mosques. If people desire to see the future of their communities and in turn nations all one need do is seek where and which religions hold the wills of the people and have the greatest support and there lies your future. It really is that simple.

Beyond the Cusp

August 26, 2014

Why Palestinian Israeli Conflict Appears Open-Ended

The recent flaring of violence between the terror groups of Gaza, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others, with the seemingly weekly ceasefires almost all of which broken within hours by rockets flying over the Gaza border onto Israeli farms, towns and cities usually to minimal damage is just the latest flare-up in the series of Arab attempts to prevent or destroy the Jewish state which dates back to before the beginning of the last century. The exception recently was the tragic death of Daniel Tregerman, an innocent four year old who had as one of his idols the Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi. Then there was a set of somewhat baffling events in which the Israeli Shin Bet security agency along with an assist from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) where their actions over the previous few days in arresting over ninety Palestinians and uncovering and confiscating a large cache of weapons, explosives, grenades and other tools of war all while uncovering a coup plot by Hamas to topple Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority through a series of terror attacks and performing the actual coup during the ensuing confusion similarly to the coup by Hamas in Gaza over five days of June 2007. People were surprised and even shocked when the different anti-Bashir Assad groups began fighting each other almost more regularly than they did the Syrian military. This should not have been such a surprise as the same differences defined the rift between the nationalist Palestinian Authority and the religious jihadist Hamas and allied groups such as Islamic Jihad. The difference is simply their motivational driving force, secular nationalism which can have religious overtones but religious purity is not demanded or a high priority while the jihadist places adherence to Islam as paramount and as the central driving force it inevitably drives those who lead these jihadist groups to take their Islamic adherence to such extremes that they have earned a special label of Islamist extremists. The jihadist becomes such a purist adherent to Islam that they classify the nationalists as heretics, disbelievers or apostates; all of which are to be punished by the sword. This is the driving force behind Hamas needing to destroy and replace the Palestinian Authority; it is all a matter or religious purity versus the unbelievers or those whose belief does not meet the jihadist standards.

 

Fatah was the originating organization which bridged Mahmoud Abbas, Yasser Arafat and the rest of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists into recognized, by the United States and Europe, acceptable peace partners for Israel to now be able to find some common ground. This provided the basis for the two state solution and the heart of its theories being the canard of land for peace. After this transformation Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas were no longer defined as terrorists and instead became men who represented the epitome of peace and compromise, or at least that has been the mantra repeated religiously by Western national leaders and the concept shoved down Israeli throats requiring ever more force as time has removed the layers of lies which have clouded the entirety of the Palestinian-Israel peace process, something which has as its origins the Arab-Israeli conflict which was simply rebranded to make Israel no longer the victim of the larger Arab world into the oppressor and occupier against the helpless Palestinian people. The war is still between the Arab world and Israel but the name was changed to dupe willing Western leaders from supporters of Israel, a position which was growing more difficult as Israel proved capable of defending herself, to mediators who could be fair and even-handed or even Palestinian sympathizers with growing animosity towards Israel. This devious plan worked to perfection and the fruits can be viewed around the Western world where anti-Semitism had grown right along with anti-Zionism and anti-Israel hatreds with the same old canards and blood libels being reinvented and given a twenty-first century face and told and accepted around the world. The most repeated accusations revolve around that Jews control the world’s governments making them do their bidding, control the media, control the banks, and steal the blood or organs of non-Jews to give to Jews or to use in the making of Matzos. In numerous Arab and Muslim nations the slanderous hoax perpetrated by the Czars in a publication they had authored and printed called “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” which purports to detail the plan whereby the Jews, all 0. 2% of the globe’s population, will take complete control over the world is only outsold by the Quran and Mein Kampf, which says even more about the Arab world and its preoccupation with eradicating the World’s Jewry.

 

The root source of the problem can be traced to the positions taken by the separate Palestinian groups. Islamic Jihad and Hamas have near identical views and definitions of their goals in fighting Israel and the Jews. Both groups believe in liberating Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea which means destroying all of Israel. The place where these two groups have a degree of difference is when it comes to what to do after destroying Israel and murdering the Jews of Israel. Hamas believes that immediately after murdering all the Jews of Israel they must proceed to murder the remaining Jews worldwide, while Islamic Jihad places that task as a future event to be completed as part of making Islam the sole religion in the world. The Palestinian Authority also believes that all of Israel is occupied Palestine and that Palestine stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea but they believe that initially the Jews could be permitted to live as long as they were under Muslim rule, paid the Jiyza tax and accepted their Dhimmi status and acted sufficiently cowed and subservient. All of the Palestinian leadership aims for a one state solution all the while some will agree to support a two state solution. This is their use of taqiyya which permits a Muslim to lie to an infidel for the cause of advancing Islam, thus agreeing they want a two state solution. Their acceptance of the two state solution is simply a way station on their way to their way to their preferred one state solution and the complete destruction of Israel. The Palestinian Authority, the group which falsely claims to adhere to the general ideas of the two state solution aim to maximize their gains before accepting the final borders and settlement. As they will forever believe they can force more concessions out of the Israelis, especially with the assistance by the anti-Israel Western NGOs and governments. They see such things as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as proof that they have the support to push Israel to the cusp of economic ruin with the extensive assistance of the West’s useful idiots and their invaluable assistance. Add a hostile set of politicians who speak loud and proud of their hatred and denunciations of Israel from around the world, Mr. George Galloway who recently declared, “We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone. We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics, coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”

 

Despite the fact that the Palestinian and Arab representatives will not cease their animosities and violence against Israel, Israelis and Jews particularly; the real reason this conflicts appears destined to remain into the foreseeable future revolves around much of the current Israeli leadership. There is a sizeable segment of the Israeli leadership who willingly believe the platitudes and lies which Mahmoud and others speak in English to the Western mainstream media and who ignore the loud, brash and hateful rhetoric spoken by these very same Palestinian leaders when they speak in Arabic, their native language. It is an apparently virulent condition which has infected the reporting and agendas of many Western nations and national leaders. Despite glaringly contradictory evidence and actions any casual observer would be able to perceive, these useful idiots demand that the two state solution has not been given sufficient effort, sufficient time, sufficient investments, sufficient candy canes and chocolate bunnies. These fools remain blind and tear into an uncontrollable rage whenever anybody dares speak against their beloved negotiations to find the magic sacrifice that Israel must finally make that will seal the deal on that ever elusive two state solution. Their overriding obsession drives them to castigate other Israelis as being those who have destroyed the atmosphere and poisoned the wells which are necessary to nurture the environment such that the perfect two state solution can be grown and tended lovingly bring a period of Messianic tranquility and harmony where the lamb will lie with the lion and their Kalashnikov AK-47s will be ground into fine dinnerware, and their mortars into knitting hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

 

Even these delusional peace-blinded fools are not the final resting place for the blame or for not ending this perpetual cycle of violence, a cycle that at this immediate juncture is the closest it has ever been to being solvable. The most frustrating and simultaneously infuriating item about all of this is that the three people who could bring all these impasses and frustration to a close if only they would open their eyes and see. There are a select few who are calling for the necessary first step to reaching the solution even if their visions may fall a little short of a complete solution, they perceive the new path and at least desire to take a bold new approach. Those at the very top, the ones most essential to break with the past are the one’s listening and fearing the most blinded in their midst while demeaning and attempting to silence the ones who bear the message and the path to peace, real and palpable long term peace. The main culprit, as most have probably ascertained, is Prime Minister Netanyahu who is backed in this misadventure by Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon. Both of these politicians have the inbuilt fear which will eventually cower even the strongest of politicians while blunting and softening their initial rough edges, those pronouncements which are often only existant within the young or inexperienced in the political arena, making them docile and fearful of again going boldly beyond the lines drawn by the not so loyal opposition. Additionally is the IDF Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz who commands an IDF which has displayed the greatest unity and spirited enthusiasm to complete their mission and surpass expectations with a willingness to answer any challenge with what is known in military circles as ‘can do’ yet his main driving idea is to end the current mission Defensive Edge before it becomes once again necessary to reenter Gaza and face the potential additional losses such an eventuality would entail. Saving his men’s lives and health have to be one of a commander’s highest concerns and it should be a driving consideration in their every decision, but it also must not become such an obsession that it paralyzes their ability to apply force when appropriate out of a desire to avoid further casualties. The protection of the IDF weighs on each of these Israeli leaders but is hopefully not acting as a paralyzing element; there exist too many other such forces which need no additional help.

 

The final puzzle piece, which makes the inability of the very top of the chain of command to act even more unbelievable, is the unity of the people of Israel. There is a unity beyond that anyone has witnessed since decades ago. The Israelis are fully behind their leadership doing whatever it might take to bring peace and security to the south of Israel and the ever widening areas which have come under the striking range of the Hamas rockets. They have witnessed miracles which have shown even the biggest skeptics that G0d is on their side and with their efforts. The three misses by the Iron Dome battery protecting Tel Aviv had its crew, especially the commanding officer, beside themselves with concern as the rocket’s trajectory according to all the data provided by their equipment placed it delivering its deadly explosive warhead on central Tel Aviv where it could have killed thousands of innocent Israelis, Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Druze and others. Perhaps the description given by that unit commander best tells of their shock and awe experience. His report, anonymous, as to reveal his name might endanger him or his family, stated, “A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or a central Tel Aviv railway station. Hundreds could have died. We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident. Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that…sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!’ I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.” What more can be said except finish the job and do that which is right and would benefit the people of Gaza as much as the people of southern Israel, both of which are living under the threat of Hamas violence, the Israelis to rockets, the Gazan people to random murders for the sake of retaining control over the people by violent oppression. Free Gaza and Israel from the brutalities and terrorism of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and those others who would act to continue to persecute both of these peoples.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 24, 2014

Ukraine Gets New Face Overnight

Yesterday the world awoke to find a new parliament and new Parliament Speaker attempting to straighten out the tangled disarray resulting from months of violence between government forces and demonstrators. Oleksander Tuchynov is the new Ukrainian Parliament Speaker and will hold the position until elections which are scheduled for May 25. The parliament will not have an easy task especially in the first initial weeks as they try and put the Ukraine back on a normal footing and return the society to a normal routine which has been impossible during the months of demonstrations. This will be even more difficult as the demonstrations melded together some disparate groups which each have their own agendas with some of them being so opposite as to be impossible to satisfy simultaneously. Some of the initial changes were the foreign minister Leonid Kozhara and the education minister Dykmitro Tabachnyk have been relieved of their posts, sixty-four protestors have been released from jail, and the president’s estate at Mezhyhirya has been nationalized. They have also declared that Ukrainian will be the sole official language of the Ukraine thus removing recognition of Russian usage in official circles. It will remain to be seen if there will be any place for the Russian language going forward though such is highly doubtful.

 

While it will very probably be many weeks before normalcy will have returned to Kiev, the rest of the Ukraine should have somewhat easier task of returning to normal as outside of the capital the demonstrations were less disruptive for much of the period only gaining power in the final weeks. The real question will be over the eastern and southern provinces where the population includes many Russians. There is a chance that these provinces may decide to split from the Ukraine and might even petition to become a part of Putin’s Russia or an autonomous state aligned more closely to Russia than to the Ukraine. It has been reported that there were some in these areas who had requested Russian protection should the protests break out in their regions. The reactions from the eastern and southern regions will require delicacy; something that could easily turn ugly if not handled deftly and with some degree of understanding. Making such tasks even more difficult will be the fact that the demonstrators do not come from one viewpoint and some of the groups who had banded together consisted of far right nationalists with a separate vision than many of the other parties and groups. The three main political parties, UDAR, Fatherland and Svoboda, which had claimed to have been working jointly during the demonstrations to oust President Yanukovych, will now be in direct competition in order to field and win the most seats they can in the upcoming elections.

 

The initial problem of removing the thuggish and dictatorial Presidency of Yanukovych and his cronies has now been realized may eventually prove to be of great benefit for the future of the Ukraine but right now it simply leaves a plethora of unanswered questions and a tangled web of new problems. Those tasked with putting the Ukraine in general and Kiev particularly back together and operating for the mutual benefit of all the people will be an uphill slog challenging those who are assuming power. The election in May is a mere quarter of a year, three months, into the future but the people will be expecting progress from their newly emplaced leaders before then and they will not be given much of a grace period. The real peril right now is the potential for a strong populist leader offering to solve all the problems if the people will simply trust them and give them the tools with the power to wield them effectively taking the elections and becoming an even worse problem than they just removed. This will become even more pressing of a possibility should the new government elected in May result in an ineffectual problematic governance that is basically a failure both economically and in keeping order. Should inflation become an even larger problem and start to run rampant, then there will be the situation which is susceptible to favor such a solution being adopted. It was just such a scenario with rampant hyperinflation and ineffectual governance of the German Weimar Republic after World War I that led to the rise of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler. The Ukraine currently has an enormous debt and a very weak economy that has suffered greatly from the disorder of the months of demonstrations. Their situation was partially due to the economic downturn which struck much of the world just over five years ago and the Ukraine still has not fully recovered. The economic recovery should be the first order of business once a newly elected government is in place. The only advice that they should receive is that government is more likely to be the problem than it is to be the solution. The best track for the government to take would be to make themselves as unobtrusive as possible, reduce regulations to a bare minimum, lower taxes on both the people and businesses and rely on free trade and unburdened free enterprise to lift the entire nation and people providing the best opportunity for a healthy economy. They should try to take a path which allows them to maximize their abilities to trade with the entire world and take steps to increase foreign trade relations as much as possible. This will require tactful handling of Ukrainian relations with Russia but they need to tell Putin that the Ukraine expects to continue to do business with Russia but also expects to be free to trade with the rest of the world as well. Europe also may need to step up and take steps to assure that the Ukraine will be accepted and thus allow them an alternative to survive any pressures from Putin and Russia. The one thing I am sure of is I am glad I will not be elected to any position in the next Ukrainian government and I wish those who are the best of luck.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

Update: The Russian government, which means Vladimir Putin, has recalled their Ambassador to the Ukraine to Moscow for consultations on the “deteriorating situation” in Kiev. In the United States National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, issued a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin against attacking Ukraine in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where she was quoted stating, “the United States is on the side of the Ukrainian people” having democratic elections with “the opportunity for the people of Ukraine to come together in a coalition unity government” representing them honestly after former President Yanukovych was removed ending his questionable Administration.

 

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