Usually for March Madness one fills in their brackets with the sixty-four teams and then predicts the winners of each down to the national championship. It takes skill, knowledge and a fair share of luck. The March Madness I am referring to is society seemingly busting at the seams everywhere one looks. The recent shooting in Ferguson, Missouri where somebody used the cover of the crowd protesting outside the police headquarters building to shoot two police standing outside the building striking one in the shoulder and the other in the face. These police were not part of any investigation, had not shot anyone had not done anything to warrant this shooting other than they were police officers in Ferguson. This was a horrific act of violence which is unfortunately not all that unexpected especially when remembering the shooting of two police officers in New York City who were merely sitting in their squad car and were police and thus deserving of whatever they got. Disrespect for societal norms and authority is once again growing across the world. The protests which have taken place in much of Europe have also had their share of riotous behavior and the breaking of police lines to assault specific targets often with ties to Jews such as Synagogues and Jewish Schools and Yeshivas.
On another front the actions of European governments and the European Union have started yet another campaign against Israel by financing and erecting buildings and placing Arab businesses or families into these structures immediately as the finishing touches are being applied. All of these structures have been placed in Area C where Arab building is forbidden by the Oslo Accords. Area C was presumed to remain a part of Israel according to the layout and the assignments of rights to the lands in Areas A, B and C. Area A was presumed to belong to the Arabs while Area C was presumed to remain a part of Israel and Area B was the part to be negotiated as to where the actual border would be placed. Obviously the Europeans have chosen to nullify the Oslo Accords as far as the restrictions upon the Arab side while altering the particulars to make the rules even more stringent and restraining on the Israelis. There may even start once more the idea that all of Jerusalem must remain undivided and as such all of Jerusalem must be rewarded to the Arabs once again and then demand a five, or maybe a ten or even a twenty mile wide thoroughfare complete with an eight lane highway, dual rails for passenger train traffic, a third and fourth rail lines for goods traveling between the two parts of the Arab entity, a special wide two lanes in each direction for busses and another three wide lanes in each direction for trucks and tractor trailers and other commercial traffic, rest areas appropriately set along a scenic path for those who desire to walk between Judea and Samaria to Gaza or the other direction. This causeway and thoroughfare right of way would also become owned by the Arabs completing their state. When Israel demands to know how they are supposed to make transit from north of this zone to south of this zone it would not be surprising for the European Union, United Nations and President Obama to be backing a plan that everything south of the Arab thoroughfare would now belong to the Bedouin Tribes and be formed into the first ever Bedouin State where any claiming to be Bedouins may raise their families and tend their flocks. Israel would then what, be warned any actions against this equitable settlement of every problem that they should take it quietly before the world comes up with further divisions of the lands and reasons every Jew must be removed until every Jew resides in Tel Aviv. Kidding aside, and there are those who will claim that this would be a fair start to an agreement if only it addressed whatever other claim that could be imagined, Israel had faced some rather astounding votes taken to denounce her or to refuse to allow any academic interactions.
Such was recently voted upon in the London University where over two-thousand students, professors and other staff voted on whether to boycott all of Israeli academic institutions. The results were revealing as seventy-three percent favored the ban and sixty percent of the professors supported the ban. Fortunately this was simply a nonbinding resolution as the fact that a mere four-hundred-twenty-five people refused to accept and approve this motion is a frightening prospect that the new anti-Semitism, the anti-Israel or often referred to as the anti-Zionist platforms and resolutions are often introduced. It comes complete with the similar refrains such as I am not against Jews, just the Israeli government and the existence of Israel. Talk to these anti-Israel types and they will inevitably prove to be anti-Zionist as well. When asked to list exact things the Israeli government has committed they inevitably list the theft of Arab lands and the Occupation of Gaza and the (West Bank) Judea and Samaria. When asked if they hold similar opposition against China or Turkey you will mostly get the deer in the headlamps stare of complete vapid dumbfounded stare. Then you need to slowly coax these afflicted people back to life or they will stand there until they collapse and are hospitalized for suffering from some unidentified ailment. It has a name and it is unaware or creeping anti-Semitism. You have to explain that China swallowed Tibet around 1951 and has illegally occupied Tibet ever since and that Turkey invaded Cyprus in July 1974 and took half the island before being stopped and there the armistice lines was drawn and Turkey cemented their claim and hold on the northern half of Cyprus by kicking out the Greek citizens residing there and brought in families from Turkey and gave them the vacated houses. Now, if your poor afflicted person appears to have regained their composure you can ask again about if they hold any other nation responsible for their occupations and see if they have internalized the information you provided, the likelihood is nothing will have changed.
The good news was the last Liberian has been released from the hospital marking their final Ebola victim to have received treatment. It appears the fears of a worldwide pandemic were a bit premature but they also restricted travel out of the afflicted areas and may have prevented the spread of Ebola further. The heroic acts by many healthcare professionals who volunteered and placed themselves in the midst of the outbreak of this deadly disease should be lauded with high praise. They were likely instrumental in preventing the spread of this epidemic into the world and making it a pandemic. What is a pity is that it takes an emergency before many of us turn our attentions to some of the people who need assistance the most and instead join the protest which only requires one’s attention and time for a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning spent carrying a sign for those few hours each week. Perhaps if one is truly dedicated to the cause they camp out at the protest site over the weekend and display their dedication and definitely join up if there is planned a stronger statement where specific targets are to be targeted. At the other end of the spectrum, an American aid worker who had volunteered in Ebola infected Africa to aid in battling the epidemic has tested positive for Ebola and will be admitted to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to be treated. Our hopes and prayers are with this goodhearted person struck by the very ailment they had sought to relieve and treat in others living with them in Africa.
Further, the war against ISIS has taken a few baby-steps in containing and possible taking back the city of Tikrit in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Iraqi military and the militias have shocked their United States trainers and imbedded advisors who have complained to the Iraqi government that these forces have been committing atrocities. The reports claim that some of the atrocities committed by the Iraqi forces border on the same level of violence and disrespect for those captured and in their custody as have been leveled on ISIS. This had disturbed their American trainers and if not rectified could lead to the removal of all United States trainers and other support personnel. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the images amounted to “disturbing and serious allegations.” Below are a pair of photos the first reveals a captive being either hung while blindfolded and restrained or actually having been flung from what appears to be a guard tower with the second depicting a man who had recently been dragged by a yellow rope tied to his right ankle. Both are examples of treatment of prisoners which is unacceptable from a properly trained military and are acts expected of the likes of al-Qaeda and ISIS, not United States trained troops.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. the big news are the lost e-mails from her private internet server of Hilary Clinton. This is simply the latest in a maelstrom of troubles and tribulations which are surrounding Ms. Clinton leading some to question if she would even care to run for President and face an even more thorough investigation of her actions by a seeming hostile media. Of course the media cannot get tired of chasing down every lead or hint of misadventures by Hilary going forward. The real problem is that Hilary lacks in charm as much as her husband simply oozes charm which means every explanation she gives simply gets her deeper into the already deep mire of scandalous accusations. It is still our contention that Elizabeth Warren is the media chosen darling they hope will become the Democrat candidate for the 2016 Presidential elections. There are a number of potential candidates waiting in the wings but the odds of a democrat winning election to the White House is considered edgy as the odds of a candidate, other than the Vice President, of the same party who have held the White House for eight years are historically poor.
Also in the news is the continued fighting under the ceasefire in the Ukraine despite assurances from the Russians that they have nothing to do with the fighting. This leaves many to question where the rebel forces obtained their heavy weapons. Did they have howitzers in their basements, tanks and APCs in their garages and heavy machine guns hanging over the mantle atop the fireplace? The fighting in Syria continues with the death toll rising now estimated to be over two-hundred-thousand civilian lives alone and who knows how many fighters have died. In Nigeria media reports have apparently confirmed that elite South African mercenaries have joined with the forces at the front lines in Nigeria’s war against the extremist Islamic terrorists of Boko Haram. There is a fight worth waging but the world has mostly turned a blind eye to the struggles against Boko Haram which is just as necessary as is opposing ISIS. They have become one and the same as Boko Haram has officially tied themselves to ISIS and claim that they are fighting to establish the Caliphate. The same goes for the forces from Libya who have been announcing their intentions of invading Italy and taking control of Rome and with it Vatican City where they plan on making the cathedrals into Mosques and claiming supremacy over all of Christendom in the process. Such an assault would be a test for NATO and one which Putin would carefully watch for developments which might signal the death of NATO leaving additional nations Putin wishes to claim for Russia more readily assaulted if NATO has become ineffective by the witness to lack of concern or action in Italy. What a world we live in and yet, somehow we each and every one of us make it to the market and have milk in the refrigerator and can pop some popcorn and watch sports or other television allowing us the serenity of ignoring the crazy madness all around us.
Beyond the Cusp