Beyond the Cusp

September 8, 2016

Why I Accept Most Inequality

 

Inequality is part of existence and no matter how hard those who believe all inequality must be eradicated, inequality is a part of the human existence. Accepting inequality does not mean that you accept all inequality as there are certain areas where inequality must not be tolerated. The foremost of these is justice and treatment under the law and in access to services and other areas where inequality is an anathema. We must have equal application of the law, equal access to legal defense when charged with a crime and equality in all applications of the powers of government. But even in this there are limits which we must address and decide whether these areas of unequal treatment are acceptable. We can easily give an example where even the most adamant proselyte of equality likely will confess to their acceptance of an inequality. The tax code and such support programs such as food stamps, unemployment insurance payments and welfare payments are all areas where society has agreed to not only allow inequality but to strictly enforce and apply these inequalities in perpetuity. There will be candidates running for office in the United States this fall who will base much of their campaign on the application of inequalities in how the government treats members of the American public. They will favor supportive programs which apply largely to their electorate and against any supportive programs which are not applicable to their electorate. An obvious example would be any candidate running for office in the areas around Washington D.C. will support increased wages for Federal Government employees while somebody running for office in central Nebraska or central Montana would call for limiting or even freezing government workers’ salaries. Somebody running in an area where there are a majority of union employees would favor pro-union legislation and programs and probably also the raising of the minimum wage to $15.00/hr. as many union salary scales are figured using the minimum wage as a scaling point.

 

Inequality is a fact of life and the sooner people understand that, equality in all things can never be accomplished. What one should not accept is inequality which is unnatural or selective in manners other than those inequalities which are a result of natural abilities or differing efforts or difficulties of task. Obviously the greeters at the neighborhood box store and a brain surgeon will not receive equal income. Though the greeter interacts with and potentially can make a positive influence on more people; if you or a friend or relative needed brain surgery, the greeter would not likely have the necessary expertise. The brain surgeon invested a large part of their life and developed a specific and vital skill which may only have an effect on a smaller number of lives. The inequality of skill levels and number of people mastering the skills of the brain surgeon is a much smaller and more elite group of people. Of course there will always be the equality in all things who will make the claim that had the greeter had similar opportunities and training they too could have become the brain surgeon. Where that could be accurate, there would be no means of discerning the reality because, believe it or not, life itself is not equal; but if we are lucky, it is fair.

 

Scales of Life in the Balance

Scales of Life in the Balance

 

Equality is one of the important qualities we should use as the basis in how we treat one another. We should not accept biased treatment in our societies, from our judicial system, by law enforcement, in service in public areas such as restaurants, in residential opportunities and numerous places all of which have some relation to interpersonal interactions or opportunities. Even when a society achieves equality in all of these areas, there will still be inequalities for which any solution would require the force of government and would in and of themselves be a form of unequal treatment. Where equal pay for equal work can be a sticky area, equal pay for all people is not actually equality, it’s communism. The problem with full equality for all incomes is that many people will choose the easiest work rather than work harder at a more difficult profession and not receive greater remuneration. What would be the reason to work at some taxing job requiring great exertion of physical energy or years of training and constant continuing education to learn the most recent developments or techniques rather than seek easier employment such as the greeter’s job we spoke of earlier? Granted there are those driven few who seek the challenge but there would be far too many capable people who would not work to their fullest if there were to be no opportunity for additional remuneration. Enforcing universal equal pay would result in losing one of the main incentives which drives many to achieve greater achievement. Without inequality in pay scales there would be little incentive to attempt to advance or perform at a higher level than your fellow employees. Across the board equal pay no matter the level, difficulty or dedication of an employee in their choice and enthusiasm and commitment is the quickest path to across the board disinterested and lazy employees who have little drive or will to exceed or even succeed.

 

Most of the inequality we find in our day to day world has a direct relation to effort, level of education, difficulty of vocation or physical requirements. The one inequality we most often hear people complain over are the huge salaries paid to professional athletes. Every time the same point needs to be driven home. The discussion usually starts off asking if the top salespeople working on commission making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year selling top products such as real estate, high end jewelry or other high end items deserve what they earn. The answer is always a definitive affirmative. Then we ask about the top medical physicians who perform the most difficult procedures such as heart surgery deserve their high paychecks? Again we hear the answer stating of course. We then mention CEOs and the other heads of industry. Then we point out that all these people have one thing in common, they are in the top five to ten percent in what they do and so are professional athletes. People at the top of their professions, and especially in the top of high money making professions such as sports, make the large salaries in proportion to the money flowing in their line of work. Are ticket prices ridiculous, yes but on the other side the average person can have a better than front row seat with slow motion replay and professional commentary watching the same game or event on television. Pay for view being one of the most expensive television viewing protocols still is often no greater than one hundred dollars and if you have a party with nine friends then it costs only ten dollars each and you get a front seat and reasonably priced refreshments with a wider range of foods from which to choose, and you’re watching it with your closest friends, what could be better.

 

Equality is something which is a target which we aim to satisfy as best as we are able. Will we ever attain complete equality in those areas where it serves society? Very likely not but that allows for improvement which gives us a reason to try that much harder. We need to fall short from time to time such that we have reason to improve and find new and better means to achieve equality. The one caution we need to remember is that equality in all things should never be the goal. Equality in measure to difficulty, level of performance, importance to society and other considerations will always provide inequality in payments to individuals who satisfy the most demanding needs of the society. Sometimes the inequalities may not be apparent to all people but as long as there is a segment of society willing to put out the money, there will be those who will find the means to satisfy those demands. The good side is that as long as there are these opportunities which offer unequal pay scales, there are opportunities for anybody to find such a niche and make some of those higher paychecks for yourself. Most of us will not take the high risk route and settle for a more equal salary which is guaranteed steady and less risky, which is our choice to make. Sometimes we can make inequality work for us but the one thing we need watch is that we deal with greater equality with the people whose paths we cross. As long as we deal with care and equality we can expect similar treatment ourselves and if we have quality friends and business associates, then we can consider ourselves fortunate and thank Hashem for such goodness in our lives. As a last note, we are all equal before Hashem and Hashem alone judges our goodness.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 23, 2016

Philippine President Duterte Against the World

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 30, 2016, elected partially on his promise to bring an end to the drug trade which was destroying his nation and the people’s nation. He has gone directly to work on this promise but now is facing threats from the United Nations as well as the United States State Department. Just yesterday we were giving the United States Department of State credit and now we face the great let down as they join the United Nations Human Rights experts all of whom are denigrating the efforts of President Duterte in freeing his people from the ravages of the illegal drug trade. His efforts to clean the Philippines of this scourge has run into a difficulty which the United Nations Human Rights experts and United States Department of State as they protest the deaths of five-hundred drug suspects have who have been killed in gun battles with police. If this number shocks you, then we might ask a simple question. What part of the statement distresses one? Is it the fact that gun battles have broken out between suspected drug criminals? Is it that these suspected drug traffickers were killed extra-judicially without being found guilty by a trial in a court of law? Was it the number of drug suspects killed is so high at five-hundred? Was it something we may have missed in our quick summary? Perhaps we should slow down in the rush to judgement and place this number into perspective of the accomplishments Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in his eight weeks in office first and then discuss these introduction statements in context.

 

Yes, five-hundred were killed in gun battles in eight weeks, a total of nine suspected drug criminals each day. We agree that such is a bit shocking but what is even more shocking are the success numbers of efforts thus far which place all in sharp contrast. Thus far over four-thousand-four-hundred drug suspects have been arrested and are awaiting trial. That is a large number of arrests and that is not even the slightest bit of the success. Between those arrested and those who chose to resist arrest and died in violent gun battles approach five-thousand drug suspects out of action, that is nothing compared to this final statistic. There have been an astonishing almost six-hundred-thousand drug suspects and related operatives who have turned themselves over to authorities simply surrendering. This astounding and likely unexpected success has resulted in overcrowding in Philippine jails which were never expected to hold such numbers. We believe that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will find some alternative by which these suspects will be housed at military bases or other emergency facilities and many will likely be processed, then charged, followed by some very reasonable bails being set and the least offenders freed on their own recognizance and told they will be notified of their court date which they will be expected to present themselves or face additional and likely more serious charges of disobeying the courts. Meanwhile, after taking in the scope of the problem, is there any doubt that those who decided their odds were better in a shoot-out than a trial were actually the most guilty and the highest ranking drug lords and their security forces, the central core of what was obviously an enormous problem in the Philippines which President Duterte has delivered on a dangerous and difficult promise and done so spectacularly.

 

The one important and further ramification of the United Nations and United States State Department charges of human rights abuses and extra-judicial executions prompting threats to charge President Duterte with crimes against humanity and potentially genocidal practices are as ridiculous and they are familiar to us here. President Duterte had gone after and looking like having cleaned-up some dangerous and hard-core criminal enterprises which likely were costing the Philippine population numerous lives and making for a society where lawlessness was posing a threat and difficulty for those desiring to live in peace and security. Such a drug problem had to result in challenges to the authority of the government and pose serious threats to the Philippine citizens, especially those trying to be law abiding. Further, such a criminal enterprise must have been a huge drain on the economy and further made life difficult for the average law abiding citizens with lives threatened by such lawlessness in a similar manner as faced in Israel from terrorism and President Duterte and his government was threatened with the exact same threats as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli governance is threatened with as Israel fights terrorism. Even spookier was that the charges emanated from the United Nations human rights experts and the United States Department of State, the identical entities which make Israelis fighting terrorism appear to be a criminal enterprise against innocent terrorists just as the Philippine fight was criminalized as they brought innocent drug lords to justice.

 

The difference was the reaction from the Philippine President when compared to the passive and almost acquiescing apologetic Israeli reactions. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took on his detractors from the United States and United Nations head-on and bluntly called them out. He challenged the United States on their fatal and very public shootings of black men in the recent past challenging to know how what he was doing was any different than these shootings by the police in the cities of the United States. He also brought up the viral picture of the five-year-old Syrian boy, Omran Daqneesh, which has gone viral online (see montage below). He stressed the lack of any progress and the lack of evidence that the people of Syria were being relieved of the heavy toll from the civil conflicts encompassing every corner and area of Syria where numerous disparate groups are warring each against the others with there being at least four distinct groups, Russia, Bashar Assad, Hezballah, Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, Sunni Fighters, Islamic State and the Kurdish Militias for starters plus who knows who else. The big threat was that perhaps the Philippines would be better served separating from the United Nations as their efforts in Syria, Darfur, Libya and formerly in Rwanda, Central African Republic and the myriad of other trouble spots past and present which the United Nations had proved less than effective and in many cases where United Nations troops caused more problems than they relieved including running food for sex scandals in numerous places and their inability to enforce any order and being basically nonfunctional. President Duterte challenged the United Nations threatening to set up a group of nations initially with suggesting China and African nations to form a new international body. Perhaps Israel should assist with the formation of an actual international group of like-minded nations as a replacement for the United Nations though simply making agreements with select nations on a one-by-one nature and forge alliances more directly.

 

Five Year Old Syrian Omran Daqneesh sitting in Ambulance in Aleppo Syria After Being Pulled from Beneath Rubble of Collapsed Building from Bombing Attack

Five Year Old Syrian Omran Daqneesh
sitting in Ambulance in Aleppo Syria
After Being Pulled from Beneath Rubble of
Collapsed Building from Bombing Attack

 

Those who have followed or had direct experience with the United Nations and/or the United States State Department realize how much these sanctimonious organizations have rules of their own and definitions which they adjust to fit their preferred targets. Both organizations would rather target democratic states as their accommodations are often of a higher level of comfort and these targets are far more sensitive and less likely to shoot first and ask questions rarely. These organizations would prefer Israel to Gaza, Syria or most other areas in the Middle East. They would prefer to inspect Egypt from Alexandria or Cairo than the Sinai Peninsula or anywhere in Libya or the Sudan. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf States are preferable to Yemen and almost anywhere is preferable to northern Nigeria where Boko Haram works their horrors. Europe is preferable to anywhere in the Third World.

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

 

Their field inspections are more tailored to five star hotels than actual trouble spots. Their hypocrisy is only out done by their padded expense accounts’ and even that is a close race. They both avoid making accusation about police states such as China, Turkey, Myanmar or Turkey outside the main cities and even those are losing their luster. With the fine beaches and five star resorts in the Philippines and Israel, it is no wonder these two organizations have redundant subgroups all but assigned to giving first class air fare, placing these inspection bodies with reservations along the Tel Aviv beaches or the gorgeous resorts all along the northern Philippine Islands and Manilla. It is difficult to take almost anything either the United Nations or United States State Department accuse certain nation of being guilty of when these adjudications are more attuned to vacation season than actual criminal activities. What a world we reside in and we owe President Duterte a tip of our hats for making such needful accusations against the two grandest fraudulent hypocritical organizations on the planet.

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

March 30, 2016

Not as Simple as America Safe Europe Not

 

There has been much discussion over the lapses in security follow-through by Belgium Security Forces which may have contributed to both the Paris attack and the more recent Brussels bombing as Molenbeek neighborhood produced both terror cells and much of the planning for both attacks were carried out there. Additionally, the leader of the Paris attacks was captured by Police in that same area. We have heard that Turkey had deported a number of Belgians who had been arrested attempting to enter Syria presumably to join the Islamic State and that the Belgian authorities did little if any follow-through and allowed these people to slip from view of enforcement personnel. There was told that the United States and Israel had both warned Brussels of the coming attack with some information pointing to Molenbeek and bombing of the airport and main subway station, the exact targets. Still, the Belgians did little if anything.

 

From this one might think that the situation in Belgium in general and in Brussels particularly was excessively lax considering the warnings received. What many may not have caught is that much of Europe and the world are similarly not well protected from terrorism. Egypt had a Russian jet loaded with a bomb explode over the Sinai and just this week had another aircraft hijacked by a disturbed individual. Though the hijacking was not technically terrorism, the people suffered through an ordeal which for all intents and purposes was an act of terror. The number of attacks across Europe since 9/11 has far outstripped that of the United States, a fact that almost every news coverage stressed, especially those based in the United States. This begs a few questions as to what are the differences between Europe and the United States which might account for this difference.

 

Could it be as simple as availability as most terrorists can walk to Europe from the Middle East or Northern Africa (MENA) where the United States would take a deal of swimming. That makes entry into the United States more regulated despite its presumed porous southern border with Mexico. One fact many are not aware of is that the southern border of Mexico is heavily guarded and short of bribery one does not cross without proper authorizations which in a strange manner makes that porous southern border of the United States a little safer. But there is a greater difference and it has to do with dividing the authority and assignment for responsibility to prevent terrorist strikes. The fact that the United States has an overriding security apparatus which operates nationally while each state operates locally makes all the difference. When one police force in Europe gets any evidence of a terrorist cell operating within their area, they would hopefully monitor them. But what if their plans are being sent cryptically to a cell the other end of Europe, what would the interaction appear as. Would it be as the Turkish, Israeli and American security warned the Belgians. Even with warnings, would there be in existence the infrastructure in their police to handle such intelligence. Very likely not and this needs to be made evident to those in the United States of their good fortune for being a republic binding the fifty states together in cooperation with set rules and assignments and this is their security which is lacking in Europe.

 

Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine the United States never did become one nation and instead became fifty nations just as Europe has different nations. There would be different languages spoken in some of the nations due to the primary immigrants and no universal English preferred as was the case for over two centuries. How well would the individual nation states be at handling security? Would they have in place a unified method of securing their airports? Would they have the funding for expensive scanners and detectors for every air terminal? What would they do with individual bits of information from the many varied individual nation states to figure out a grand scale the targets for terror strikes? Remember that the United States had the CIA, the FBI, Military Intelligences, all the individual state, county, city and rural police. All together they might have been able to piece together the 9/11 attacks and prevented them. They had all the pieces and even the computer of one of the conspirators along with all their levels of security and they missed it! Europe has no overriding law enforcement which can operate freely and without any interference from local authorities. Don’t even try to claim INTERPOL which puts out its Ten Most Wanted lists and attempts to coordinate two hands clapping patty-cake from two people across the room from each other, it does not mesh well.

 

 

INTERPOL shield

 

 

That is the problem in Europe, no coordinating body which can gather all the information and coordinate efforts. Even if INTERPOL had the smoking gun they would still require local police and security personnel to act to prevent any catastrophe. There was one article which got the solution correct, but it will require the nations of Europe to make a decision. Will the nations of Europe actually make an effort to cooperate if an overseeing agency is activated and placed responsible for tracking all things terror related and to whom these individual police and security agencies would necessarily need to report all leads and respond to any inquiries. Without their agreement in advance there is no reason for going through the actions as full coordination and cooperation is the key to success, just as it works, mostly, in the United States. What would rankle the nerves of the Europeans the most is that the overriding group would be NATO and would necessarily coordinate with Israeli security services in order to gain the whole picture. There would also be coordination with Egypt, Jordan and any other government willing to share solid and good information and intelligence. We all know that the European will do almost anything not to appear to react as Israel acts. They view the Israelis as paranoid lunatics who howl at the full moon and other imaginary threats. The Europeans are convinced that through respect and deference they can avoid terrorism like has been levelled against Israel, justifiably by most European thinking. Well, that same snake which the Europeans have been financing for decades has finally come home to roost and is killing Europeans and not just Jews. The time has passed where Europe needed to awaken to the threat levels they are facing and it is not too late, but it is imperative that action start and start soon to fight this rising menace. Either Europe will learn from the United States for coordinating across state lines and from the Israelis on how to implement smart security.

 

A final note on air safety. We have done our share of international flying in the past five years and have seen differing levels of security in the United States and elsewhere. We also have had more than sufficient relations with others including one friend whose plane landed in Brussels minutes after the terror attack, their ordeal was harrowing at best and maybe, just maybe, their luggage will find them again some day in the not too distant future. United, American, Southwest and whatever airlines you care to mention with one exception rely on whatever security the airport at which they fly from provides. That is pure insanity as that does not guarantee a level of expertise or efficiency that provides a safe environment for their passengers and employees. Many of these airlines met with Israeli representatives who described the means by which very few El Al aircraft has ever been successfully hijacked. The solution explained by El Al have always been regarded as the best methods for protecting passengers and aircrews but also too expensive and man-hour intensive to be utilized by these other major carriers. They claim passengers would refuse to pay the extra required for such screening while El Al does the multi-layered screening of passengers and background test their crews leading to the safest flying experience possible. Even further, the El Al aircraft are fit with Elbit Systems C-MUSIC anti-missile Protection systems, and that alone is worth the price of the fare.

 

 

 

 

The people at El Al take these incidents very personally. One of the most daring and astonishing stories is well worth reading titled How to thwart a gunman at 29,000 feet, by the only pilot who ever did. Please take the time and read this true story of one pilot who asked the right questions and used every bit of resources he had to foil an armed hijacking using guile, skill and a large dose of chutzpah. Meanwhile, if Europe is going to get a handle on the terror threat they prefer to pretend is not real, they are going to have to accept facts and deal intelligently with the threat and find a means for a coordinated effort by whatever means. NATO is simply the best suited with its current configuration and technical abilities and was designed to protect Europe from threats, that may as well include current terror threats, and let us all realize that maybe the Israelis actually know what they are dealing with and one might learn a thing or two.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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