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

June 8, 2011

Helping Hand of Government Past, Present, and Future

The helping hand of government has a long, and some might say dark and destructive, history. One of the earliest stories of Government’s helping hands overreaching is from a folk tale about none other than Davy Crockett, the Congressional Representative of Tennessee’s 9th district and a conversation between him and a farmer named Horatio Bunce as Representative Crocket was out campaigning for reelection. In short, Davy Crockett had voted for a bill to provide $20,000.00 to be utilized to rebuild an area of Georgetown that had been destroyed in a fire making many citizens homeless with simply the clothes they were wearing. The fire also destroyed a restaurant that was a favorite of many members of Congress from both Houses. The farmer informed Mr. Crockett that though he had supported him before, he no longer could do so in good conscience. When pressed for the reason, the farmer replied that Representative Crockett had abused his power and sullied his honor by breaking his pledge to uphold the Constitution by voting to allot funds for the rebuilding of what were private properties, a power not granted to the Government by the Constitution. Were such to be the only sins against the Constitution in our times.

Let me try to list some of the most egregious examples of Government sticking its nose, fingers, and sometimes the entire hand where it had no business that I recall from my sixty years. One particularly expensive item, at least for me at that time, was a simple regulation that forced the States to require every motorist to insure their vehicle in order to get the car licensed. This was to do away with the problems of uninsured drivers. Well, surprise of surprises, once having car insurance became required by law, for reasons that are a mystery, not, insurance rates for car insurance nearly tripled over the next two years. It still did not eliminate uninsured drivers but it did add another charge on every insured driver’s policy, a “contribution” to the State uninsured drivers’ fund which was supposed to be used to cover those uninsured drivers this regulation supposedly made impossible. This was a case of please don’t do me any more favors. Of course, the Government did not heed my wishes and more fun and games were to come.

The next Government caused boondoggle eventually did work the way it was claimed it would. Unfortunately, I honestly believe it would have evolved without the not so invisible hand of Government. I’m talking about the breakup of Ma Bell. The Government decided that having one telephone company for the entire nation supplying service to everybody did not allow for competition and thus AT&T had to be making undeserved profits off the system. So, the Government divided up Ma Bell and gave us regional baby Bells and stipulated that though Ma Bell still owned the entire communications network’s hardware, it would be required to charge the same rate to competitors of the baby Bells showing no preference. This resulted in Ma Bell showing no preferences including towards maintaining the same bottom line profits. In order to meet the desired profit margin, Ma Bell presented fees for use of the network hardware that guaranteed their continued financial health. They were not about to allow the Government to prevent them their deserved profits. With now competing baby Bells having to duplicate many positions which were also manned by Ma Bell, phone rates increased. With time, and new hardware being developed and competing with the older network, eventually prices fell below previous levels. This development appeared, for the most part, to coincide with the explosion of many newer communications technologies, especially in the form of satellite communications. With this new technology taking the place of extensive land lines, new companies such as Hughes entered the communications market. Soon we had wireless phones and everything else that we accept as commonplace today. Communication is only dependent upon land lines in local markets, and then only as a choice competing with cell phones. The advances that necessitated and made available new names and companies vying for our communication dollars would have happened and made much of AT&T and IT&T land line technology obsolete without any assistance from Government.

Recently, Government seems to have decided that there should be absolutely no limit to their ability to be invasive in our lives. Examples of more recent government meddling includes low water toilets which do not function properly in much older homes with larger diameter drainage pipes, low water shower heads, and the newest and worst intrusion, low water and energy washing machines. Recent testing of the new lines of front loading washing machines find that where they are just adequate at removing simple dirt, they are downright pathetic at removing set in oils, ground in dirt, grass stains, grease stains and other stubborn stains. Recent ratings by Consumer Reports has shown that every make and model of the front loading washing machines, even the most expensive deluxe washing machines, perform significantly poorer quality than the most basic top loaders from ten to fifteen years ago. But the worst is the next Government energy saving regulation coming soon to your electronics and appliance stores near you.

We are about to leave the age of the incandescent light bulb and enter the brave new world of compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs). We have been assured by Government spokespeople, who else would it be, that these new light bulbs will last longer, be just as bright and easy on the eyes as the old incandescent bulbs; well, except for the barely noticeable flickering. But what about the things they haven’t told us, the drawbacks, and there are many. First, that barely noticeable flicker will give many folks a nasty headache, especially if they are trying to read from one of these new-fangled bulbs (mandatory sounding like an old fogey for those choosing to refute my comments). Almost every lampshade that was designed to fit by clamping on the nice rounded shape of an incandescent bulb will no longer work and that is most of my budget lamps around the house. Tests have shown that the CFL lights are not a true white light that we have all been accustomed to with the incandescent bulbs. And then there is the big one that they do not talk about. What happens if one of the compact fluorescent bulbs breaks? Do you realize that you cannot simply go get the broom and dustpan and sweep it all up and throw it into the trash? Oh no, that will be illegal. Should your toddler pull down a lamp by its cord or the dog knock over your pole lamp and some of these CFLs should break, you have to call a specialist to come and decontaminate your house, or at least that room. These CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, a highly toxic liquid at room temperature and partially gas and liquid inside these CFLs. When one breaks a hazmat team needs to be called to properly clean the environment of even the smallest amount of mercury. It will be illegal under EPA regulations to simply STS, as I like to call it, meaning sweep, toss, and shut up. So, break one of these, as I said before, new-fangled CFL bulbs and it is estimated that initially cost anywhere from $1,000.00 to $5,000.00, until sufficient people get trained. Even after there are sufficient numbers of trained people, since it will take special equipment and detection meters and a fair amount of time to properly dispose of your broken light bulb, it will never be all that affordable, and you have to call a “professional”, it’s the law! So, now those crazies who are stocking up on good old incandescent light bulbs might not be all that crazy after all. My solution is I will simply only buy rather expensive and rather unbreakable LED light bulbs. Nope, no CFLs in my house.

Beyond the Cusp

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